If your class is meeting online, invite students to bring index cards and pens/pencils to class.
As students arrive, hand out supplies and have them make a list of people and instances where they remember experiencing forgiveness in their lives. Give them some examples: a teacher who showed grace and allowed more time for an assignment when you were struggling with something in your personal life, a coach who allowed you to play even when you missed practice, a friend who included you in his or her birthday celebrations even though you had a disagreement the weekend before.
Give students a few moments to write about these people who showed forgiveness and also about the reasons they needed to ask forgiveness. Don’t call on students as some of their memories related to this topic may be private but allow a few minutes for any volunteers who want to share what they wrote about. If possible, relate a story about when you were forgiven as well. It is always helpful for students to see that their teachers are vulnerable and share some of the same struggles as they do.
The Rwandan Genocide happened in the African country of Rwanda in 1994. The Rwandans of the Hutu ethnicity committed the genocide against the people of Tutsi ethnicity.
Share the following 6-minute audio clip with your students:
After the Genocide, Author Witnessed How Rwandans Defined Forgiveness
The Rwandan genocide was deeply tragic. Innocent people were killed and persecuted. The whole trajectory of a country and its people changed as a result.
- Why do you think so many people in Rwanda are choosing to walk in forgiveness for horrific events that impacted them deeply? (Answers will vary. Accept all reasonable responses.)
- If you were in the same situation, do you think you would be able to forgive? Why or why not? (Answers will vary. Allow students to share their hones feelings without judgment.)
Forgiving people who hurt or abuse you is not easy. Today we’re going to talk about two brothers and how one forgave the other even after being seriously wronged by him.