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The first of The Four Sacred Gifts is – Forgive the Unforgivable. Why? How? Must we? Forgiving wrongs, intentional, unintentional,
historic, big and small is not a simple thing. For many of us this can be very challenging. There are so many ways that we are hurt by others and that we hurt others in our lives. How we manage those hurts is a key part of shaping our lives internally and externally. How can forgiveness help us to become the the person we want to be?
Background Information:This conversation is adapted in part from themes found in Anita L. Sanchez’s book, The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times. It is part of a series including Healing, Hope, and Unity. You can also watch a video of this conversation here.
Let's Get Started!
Living Room Conversations offers a simple, sociable and structured way to practice communicating across differences while building understanding and relationships. Typically, 4-6 people meet in person or by video call for about 90 minutes to listen to and be heard by others on one of our nearly 100 topics. Rather than debating or convincing others, we take turns talking to share, learn, and be curious. No preparation is required, though background links with balanced views are available on some topic pages online. Anyone can host using these italicized instructions. Hosts also participate.
Why We're Here (~10 min)
Share your name, where you live, what drew you here, and if this is your first conversation.
How We'll Engage (~5 min)
These will set the tone of our conversation; participants may volunteer to take turns reading them aloud. (Click here for the full conversation agreements.)
- Be curious and listen to understand.
- Show respect and suspend judgment.
- Note any common ground as well as any differences.
- Be authentic and welcome that from others.
- Be purposeful and to the point.
- Own and guide the conversation.
What We’ll Talk About
Optional: a participant can keep track of time and gently let people know when their time has elapsed.
Getting to Know Each Other (~10 min)
Each participant can take 1-2 minutes to answer one of these questions:
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
What are your thoughts on Forgiveness? (~40 min)
Take ~2 minutes each to answer a question below without interruption or crosstalk. After everyone has answered, the group may take a few minutes for clarifying or follow up questions/responses. Continue exploring additional questions as time allows..
- What is your experience of forgiveness? What have you forgiven and why?
- Are there people you have yet to forgive or you will never forgive? Why is that?
- What are the benefits or detriments of forgiving? For yourself, for the other, for the community?
- How does one (or should one ever) forgive the unforgivable? What is it like if you ever imagine doing this?
- What does forgiveness mean? What does it not include?
Reflecting on the Conversation (~15 min)
Take 2 minutes to answer one of the following questions:
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?