“The Power of Forgiveness”
“Without Forgiveness we become Puppets of the Past.”
“People who hold on to hurt and revenge stay unhealthy”
“When we forgive, we release a person from prison and that person is us.”
Men of Community Lutheran gathered with Men of St. Andrew Lutheran Church at the Strasburg Hotel on Friday, Feb. 9th for Dinner as they began the Retreat Weekend at Signal Knob Retreat Center. The men looked at two powerful Biblical Stories of Dysfunctional Families: Jacob and His Sons (Genesis 37-45) and the Parable of the Prodigal Sons (Luke 15:11-32). We spoke of our own family narratives, the hurt experienced in families and the need we all have for forgiveness. We share one-on-one conversations and reflections on the following: 1) Remember a time when you needed forgiveness. 2) Is there something you are finding difficult to forgive? 3) What makes forgiveness hard and difficult? We had heart to heart conversations with brothers and we laughed a lot too.
We also learned a lot from the Video DVD “The Power of Forgiveness” by Martin Doblmeier featuring stories from Northern Ireland, Ground Zero, the Amish Countryside and perspectives by Elie Wiesel, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Moore and Marianne Williamson. A fascinating study done by doctors and clinicians in medical laboratories reveals how holding on to hurt and pain can make us unhealthy and how learning to forgive over time increases well-being.
Here are a few thoughts from those who attended:
“I really enjoyed the Men’s retreat with our brothers from St Andrew again this year. This retreat always provides a great opportunity for that with the added benefit of renewing and strengthening relationships with other Christian men. This year we discussed forgiveness and the important role that it plays in our lives from the perspectives of both forgiving and being forgiven. We had wonderful discussions of our thoughts and experiences regarding the need to forgive and be forgiven both as a group and in one-on-one sessions. I enjoyed the opportunity to engage the head and the heart and to think about what transformation looks like in my own life. I always enjoy the laughter and fellowship experienced within the retreat and this one was no different. Good food, good fellowship, and the chance to learn from one another about living as Christian men, you can’t beat it!”
“The Men’s Escape Retreat Weekend was just what I needed. I enjoyed being with our CLC Brothers and the Brothers of St. Andrew Lutheran Church. The Theme and Power of Forgiveness was a real eye-opener. I learned that often we must forgive ourselves before we can forgive someone else. A powerful point was made that forgiveness comes more easily when we realize how often we have taken withdrawals from God’s bank of grace.”
The weekend at Men’s Retreat at Signal Knob p provided a wonderful opportunity for introspection and also comradery with our brothers from St. Andrews. Our discussions of this year’s theme of forgiveness have given me a better understanding – and appreciation – of what it means to forgive and be forgiven. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”