Lesson 25: Forgiveness

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 1, (2002), 86–89


Objective

Each young man will live in greater harmony with those around him as he forgives and seeks forgiveness.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Scriptures for each young man.

    2. b.

      Picture 1, The Last Supper.

    3. c.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

    4. d.

      Pencil for each young man.

  2. 2.

    Make a copy of the handout “Am I a Forgiving Person?” for each class member (see page 89).

  3. 3.

    Assign a young man to come prepared to relate the account of the unmerciful servant (see Matthew 18:23–35).

  4. 4.

    Read the story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt (see Genesis 37, 39–46). Study Matthew 18:23–35 and Luke 23:33–34.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Scriptures Provide Examples of Forgiveness

Activity

Conduct the activity “Who Am I?” by having a young man read aloud the clues below. As soon as someone thinks he has discovered the identity of the person being described, he should raise his hand. However, the reader should continue until the list is complete or until all the young men have raised their hands.

Who Am I?

  1. 1.

    I was falsely accused and sent to prison (see Genesis 39:11–20).

  2. 2.

    Later I was released from prison and given a high position of leadership in a foreign land (see Genesis 41:37–43).

  3. 3.

    For many years I was separated from my family (see Genesis 37:28; 39:1–2, 20; 41:1, 14; 46–48).

  4. 4.

    I interpreted the dreams of a butler, a baker, and a ruler (see Genesis 40–41).

  5. 5.

    Because of famine, my family left their homeland and moved to where I was living. Therefore, I was able to help them (see Genesis 45–46).

  6. 6.

    When I was a boy, my father gave me a beautiful coat (see Genesis 37:3).

  7. 7.

    Although my brothers sold me to slave traders, I forgave them; we had a joyful reunion in Egypt and lived happily for many years (see Genesis 45–46).

  • Who am I? (Joseph, the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt.)

Discussion

Help the young men relate the complete story.

  • What principle does this story illustrate? (Forgiveness.)

  • What made the happy reunion possible? (Joseph was willing to forgive earlier offenses.)

Scripture and discussion

Read Luke 23:33–34, and discuss with the young men this great account of forgiveness.

We Must Learn to Be Forgiving

Thought questions

Write the word Forgiveness at the top of the chalkboard.

Have the young men think about the following questions. They should not share their responses with the other young men.

  • Have you ever wanted to be forgiven for a wrong you committed against someone else?

  • How did you feel before you were forgiven?

  • How did you feel after you had been forgiven?

Scripture story

Ask the assigned young man to relate the parable of the unmerciful servant (see Matthew 18:23–35).

  • What do you think Jesus is trying to teach us with this parable?

Scripture, quotation, and discussion

Have a young man read Matthew 18:35.

Explain that in modern amounts, the first debt of ten thousand talents is equal to over nine million dollars, whereas the second debt of a hundred pence is equivalent to about fifteen dollars (see James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1916], pp. 394, 396–97).

  • What message for our own lives did the Savior teach in this parable?

Scripture search

Write the following scriptures on the chalkboard and ask the young men to find them: Matthew 6:14–15 and Doctrine and Covenants 64:9–10. Have a young man read each one. The young men may want to mark parts of these verses.

Explain to the young men that Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins. When we sincerely repent, he forgives us. We are not required to suffer for other people’s sins, but we have been commanded to “forgive all men.” By forgiving others as Jesus forgives us, we learn to be more like him.

Quiz

Give each young man a pencil and a copy of “Am I a Forgiving Person?” (see page 89). Explain that this is a short quiz about forgiving. All the questions should be answered honestly with a simple yes or no. Remind the class that this is a personal activity; they should not share their answers with the class.

Am I a Forgiving Person?

  1. 1.

    Do you ever say, “Well, I will forgive, but I can never forget”?

  2. 2.

    Are you ever secretly happy when something unfortunate happens to someone you don’t like?

  3. 3.

    Do you ever wish you could get even with someone for something he has done to you?

  4. 4.

    Is there anyone you avoid or to whom you refuse to speak?

  5. 5.

    When you get angry with someone, do you sulk and take a few days to get over it?

  6. 6.

    Do you ever talk unkindly to others about someone you think has offended you?

  7. 7.

    Is there someone in your own immediate family whom you resent just a little for something he or she has done?

  8. 8.

    When you get in arguments with your brothers or sisters, do you bring up things they have done before that made you angry?

Have the young men think about those questions to which they had to answer yes. Explain that forgiving is not easy; it is one of our greatest challenges and a test of our real love for others.

Story and discussion

Tell the young men to listen to the following story for the key to forgiveness.

“Mark was a lively, noisy boy. Sometimes he felt that things were too quiet around his house, so he would try to start something. One night he felt like talking with his sister Susan. She was a year ahead of Mark in school, and she usually had a lot of homework. When she wasn’t busy, she would laugh and talk with Mark, but this evening she was very busy. She was feeling many pressures because she had homework in every class. She told Mark of her work and tried to get him to leave her alone, but there was no one else around to talk to; so Mark continued pestering her, talking and laughing. He had practiced saying each word backwards so that it sounded like a foreign language. He was proud of this trick and wanted to show Susan how talented he was by singing backwards the words to one of their favorite songs.

“Finally, Susan burst into tears and cried at Mark, ‘Can’t you understand? I have to study. I don’t have time to talk now, or to listen to you talk. I’ve tried to tell you how it is. Can’t you leave me alone?’ She piled up her books angrily and ran into her room, slamming the door behind her.

“Almost immediately she came out of her room and apologized to Mark for not putting herself in his place. She said, ‘When I finish my homework, I want to hear you sing that song. You practice on it for a while longer, and do it for me later.’

“And Mark said easily, ‘That’s okay. I’m sorry I bothered you. I didn’t realize how much you had to do. I have some guys to call anyway. I’ll go do that’” (Love Makes Our House a Home [Family Home Evening manual, 1974], pp. 141–42).

  • Why did Mark and Susan get mad at each other?

  • How were they able to forgive each other? (They each tried to understand the other’s position.)

Story and discussion

Display the picture of the Last Supper (picture 1 at the back of the manual) and share the following story of Leonardo da Vinci:

“Though Leonardo da Vinci lived many years ago (born 1452), he remains famous throughout the world for his masterful paintings. One of his most famous works is ‘The Last Supper,’ which has been hailed as the ‘most perfect composition in the history of painting of all ages.’

“According to one account, da Vinci became quite angry with one of his friends during the painting of ‘The Last Supper.’ When he returned to the painting, he was unable to work on the character-filled faces of Christ and His apostles.

“At last he sought out the man whom he had wronged and asked his forgiveness. Only when he had put his own life in tune with the spirit he knew his subjects must radiate was he able to continue his work” (Arthur S. Anderson, “They Taught Forgiveness,” Instructor, June 1959, p. 190).

After briefly discussing the experience of Leonardo da Vinci, ask the following two questions:

  • What does this story tell us about our ability to enjoy our Heavenly Father’s Spirit?

  • How can the spirit of forgiveness help us in our families?

Conclusion

Challenge

Ask the young men to turn their papers over and write down one thing they would be willing to do during the coming week that would help them to forgive and increase their love for a friend or a member of their family. Challenge the young men to develop the spirit of forgiveness in all their associations, especially with members of their own families. Express your testimony concerning this beautiful gospel principle.