The Forgiveness Book – discussion questions


Part One – The Business of Forgiveness

  1. Why is it necessary for you to forgive?
  2. Under what circumstances is it difficult for you to do so?
  3. What do you think the authors mean when they call forgiveness "the only road to freedom"? Give an example from your life.

Part Two – No One Said It Would Be Easy

  1. Have you ever experienced or observed a situation of someone being unready to forgive, such as the hospital chaplain in the book did? Describe what happened.
  2. What is the difference between a sin of omission and a sin of commission? Give an example of each.
  3. What is the role of honesty and anger in forgiveness?
  4. Which of the seven statements about forgiveness on pages 22 and 23 speak most to you? Why?

Part Three – How Can I Lay This Burden Down?

  1. Why did Mrs. Audet in the story have "a lot of forgiving to do"? What would happen if she did not do so?
  2. What did your upbringing teach you about forgiveness? Tell a story if you can.
  3. The authors say that "the movement from living in fear to living out of forgiveness is called ‘conversion.'" What do you think they mean by that?
  4. How should justice relate to forgiveness in your opinion? Can you forgive, even if it is "unfair"? Why or why not?
  5. What is the most important payoff of forgiveness for you? Why?

Part Four – What Do I Do When I Am Ready to Forgive?

  1. React to the words of Jean Vanier: "If we come into community without knowing that the reason we come is to discover the mystery of forgiveness, we will soon be disappointed."
  2. Why is sin always "anti-social"? Give an example from your own life.
  3. Have you been to confession recently? What was your experience?
  4. How do you react to the "Five C's" of forgiveness on pages 51-64? Which one would you most like to skip when you ask for forgiveness? Why?

Part Five – The Practice of Forgiving

  1. What does it mean to say that forgiveness is "a way of life"? Do you know someone who lives that way? Describe him or her without naming the person.
  2. Why was Jesus' understanding and practice of forgiveness so radical? What are the implications of that for you in your life?
  3. Who is the most difficult for you to forgive? Why? Who has the most difficulty forgiving you? Why?
  4. What is the difference to you between forgiving and enabling? Is it possible for you to forgive without enabling? Explain.

Part Six – One Story of Forgiveness

  1. How do you react to Nadine's story in the book?
  2. Tell one story of forgiveness, either about yourself or someone you know.
  3. Make a list of three people or things that need to be forgiven by you. Make another list of three things you need to be forgiven for. If you feel comfortable, share one or more with the group.

Father Paul Boudreau is available to participate in small book discussion groups over the phone. To arrange a date and time, please contact Andrew Yankech at ACTA Publications at or 847-676-2282.