Forgiving Others

“Forgiving Others,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material (2021)

“Forgiving Others,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material

two young adult women sit on a park bench; one looks sad, and the other is reaching to comfort her

Week 12 Teacher Material

Forgiving Others

During this lesson students will discuss the need to forgive others and the role that Jesus Christ plays in their efforts to do so. They will have the opportunity to share their own experiences about healing from hurt caused by others. Students can also determine what they can do to receive strength from the Lord to forgive those who have wronged them.

Ideas for Teaching

Chapter 21

We are commanded to forgive all those who have hurt or sinned against us.

  • Consider inviting students to share what stood out to them from chapter 21 and why that part was impactful to them.

  • You might show the video “We Must Be Willing to Forgive Others” (3:57), in which Elder Andersen recounts an experience from chapter 2 about a woman who forgave her ex-husband. You might invite students to watch for and share what they learn from this video about the Lord’s gift to us of being able to forgive.

  • Elder Andersen shared in the first part of the chapter several scriptures about forgiving others: Matthew 6:14–15; Luke 6:36–38; Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–10; and Mosiah 26:31. Invite students to review one of these passages and prepare to share what it teaches about forgiving others. After students share what they found, review the second paragraph of the chapter and identify a truth similar to the one in the section heading above. You could then discuss one or more of the following questions:

    • What did Elder Andersen teach about those who intentionally harm us or who make no attempt toward restitution?

    • Why can it sometimes be especially hard to forgive those who intentionally harm us or who appear to not be sorry about harming us?

    • Why is forgiving others worth the effort or struggle?

  • Consider reviewing paragraphs 6–7 of the chapter (which begin “Forgiveness is not …”), looking for what forgiving others is and what it is not. You could then discuss one or both of the following questions:

    • What is the Savior’s role in our efforts to forgive and be healed?

    • Why is it helpful to understand that forgiving others does not mean excusing, condoning, dismissing, or even forgetting?

  • You could review or ask a student to summarize the parable of the unjust servant found in Matthew 18:21–35 or in the section “God’s Mercy.” Then discuss how the parable can help us better understand God’s mercy as well as His command to forgive others.

  • You might also share and discuss the following clarifying statement about forgiveness by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

It is … important for some of you living in real anguish to note what [the Savior] did not say. He did not say, “You are not allowed to feel true pain or real sorrow from the shattering experiences you have had at the hand of another.” Nor did He say, “In order to forgive fully, you have to reenter a toxic relationship or return to an abusive, destructive circumstance.” But notwithstanding even the most terrible offenses that might come to us, we can rise above our pain only when we put our feet onto the path of true healing. That path is the forgiving one walked by Jesus of Nazareth, who calls out to each of us, “Come, follow me.” (“The Ministry of Reconciliation,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 79)

Jesus Christ can heal our wounds when others have sinned against us.

  • Consider summarizing or sharing part of Spencer Christensen’s account from the section “More Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement.” You could then ask, “How do we heal from devastating wounds caused by others?”

  • You might review together the first paragraph in that same section and identify a truth like the one stated in the heading above. You could also review the second paragraph in the section and then ask the following questions:

    • In addition to suffering for everyone’s sins, what additional price did Jesus Christ pay?

    • How can understanding this help us to forgive others?

  • You could review the account of Richard Norby (found in the last two paragraphs of the same section) and ask students what stands out to them. You could then discuss:

    • How can remembering the breadth of the Savior’s sacrifice and suffering help us in our efforts to find healing?

    • How has the Savior helped heal your wounds caused by others?

As our faith in Jesus Christ and our understanding of His Atonement grow, our ability to forgive others and feel forgiven will increase.

  • You might review the account of Corrie ten Boom or Christopher S. Williams in the “Forgiving Others” section of the chapter. You could then invite students to share what they learned from these experiences about forgiving those who may have done terrible things to them or their families.

    The following videos may be helpful as part of your discussion:

    • Bishop Keith B. McMullin shares the account of Corrie ten Boom and how she was able to forgive in the video “We Must Forgive” (1:56).

    • Christopher S. Williams shares how he was able to learn to forgive in the video “Forgiveness: My Burden Was Made Light” (8:25).

  • Invite students to review the last five paragraphs of the chapter (which begin “President Russell M. Nelson …”), looking for truths about forgiving others. Ask them to list on the board the truths they identify (which could include a truth like the one stated in the heading for this section). Invite students to choose a truth from the list and share what it means to them. You could then ask one or more of the following questions:

    • Why is it important to understand that the Savior can grant us the ability to forgive?

    • How can forgiving someone we might not think deserves it help us understand the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

    • How does relying on the Savior’s Atonement help us forgive others?

    • How can we know if we have truly forgiven someone?

  • Invite students to think about times when forgiving someone else has brought healing to their souls. You might invite a few students to share from their own experiences what they have learned about forgiving others. Consider bearing your testimony that the Savior will help us to forgive others as we exercise faith in Him.

For Next Time

Encourage students to study chapters 22 and 23 in preparation for next week. Consider inviting students to think about the following questions as they study:

  • If forgiveness comes from Jesus Christ, why do serious sins need to be confessed to priesthood leaders?

  • How can I know when I have been forgiven?