We are delighted to bring this second in a series of six articles on the emerging Forgiveness Movement, written by Robert Warren who is the leader of National Forgiveness Week and is on the i4Give and PIPES Boards.

This series will highlight the value of forgiveness and invite you to pray for and apply forgiveness in your own life – and will identify ways you can join the emerging Forgiveness Movement for genuine Holy Spirit led revival across our nation.

The first article is The Forgiveness Movement Mounting Throughout Australia.

The Forgiveness Movement Grows

After the Abdallah/Sakr Tragedy of 2020, where 4 children were killed by a drunk and drug affected driver as they walked along the footpath to buy ice creams at the local store … the Abdallah and Sakr families established the i4Give Foundation to promote forgiveness throughout Australia.

The National Forgiveness Week team, already working towards the same goal, linked arms with i4Give to place their resources and efforts into the same ‘melting pot’. In effect, NFW bowed the knee to serve and work with i4Give.

i4GIVE Day was established in 2021 as both a memorial to the four children, and as a starting point for spreading the forgiveness message. And the message is a simple one, perhaps the most profound, yet the most underrated of all of Jesus’ teachings…

After receiving God’s forgiveness for all that we have done wrong, we are then to open our hearts to forgive those who have wronged us. This is the meaning of the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35). Our forgiveness towards others is an endorsement of our own salvation. We have been forgiven, so out of thankfulness to God, we forgive those who have hurt or offended us.

Forgiveness FROM THE HEART

“… unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” Matthew 18:35 NIV

First and foremost, forgiveness, without Jesus at the core of the message, can achieve some limited societal outcomes, such as relational cohesion within marriages, communities, corporations, organisations etc.

However, Jesus went straight to the heart of the human condition; He addressed the carnal nature in humankind that caused offences; the source of our inherently evil disposition. And if we accept Him and His claims, the forgiveness OF Jesus will inspire us to forgive others, even ourselves, from the heart.

Clinical psychologists appreciate the value of forgiveness and even promote its practice, but they see it solely as an act of the will to free oneself. Jesus, on the other hand, tells us to forgive from the heart, and only He can require that of us through our love and appreciation of Him for what He did for us on the Cross. His forgiveness softens our hearts enabling us to freely bestow forgiveness on those who have hurt us.

i4GIVE Week

What started as a day of forgiveness has grown into a weeki4Give Week is planned to be an annual 8-day event running Sunday to Sunday where the value of forgiveness is openly promoted and taught throughout Australia.

i4Give Week 2023 will be a fairly lowkey event to catalyse awareness of the forgiveness message. It is envisaged that i4Give Sunday will be launched on 29th January with a church-based program (TBC). i4GiveDay will be held on Wednesday 1st February as a memorial to Antony Abdallah, Angelina Abdallah, Sienna Abdallah and Veronique Sakr. And the i4Give Festival is planned for the following weekend at Parramatta Park in western Sydney. Churches throughout Australia are encouraged to set aside this week to focus on forgiveness within their congregations and local communities.

The i4Give Week 2023 committee is planning to highlight invitations to forgiveness in four areas: Forgiveness through the Church, Prisons, Education and Aboriginal people. Leaders will be appointed each of these groups and we will build a prayer team around each group.

  • As you read through the descriptions of the groups, please ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and speak to you concerning forgiveness.
  • We would be very grateful if you would pray for us – the families, leaders and teams involved in planning i4Give Week 2023.
  • Start conversations with your family, friends, pastors, leaders and teams about putting i4Give Week onto your 2023 calendar and prayerfully discern how you will partner in this.

Forgiveness in the Church offers us all a simple invitation to reflect on what our Saviour has done for us and to do what He asks of us. As we confess our repentance to those we have wronged and forgive those who have sinned against us, forgiveness frees us to grow in spiritual maturity. The restoration of relationship enables us to become one with each other and to love our world as the Father does. A team will be encouraging Christians, small groups, local churches and denominational and missional leaders to share this good news across the Church and to our world, which is so broken by dysfunctional relationships and mental illness.

Forgiveness in Prisons is being led by Diane Spicer whose remarkable true story of transformation and redemption is shared in her book, Unmasked. Diane has applied forgiveness to her work in prisons and in God TV. For i4Give Week, God TV has graciously agreed to run a 24/8 forgiveness tele-marathon which will include archival forgiveness material and will be broadcast to all God TV subscribers worldwide, including all Australian prisons that have installed God TV. This is to include new material from Danny and Leila Abdallah and Bridget Sakr.

Forgiveness in Education is transforming public primary and high schools and elite private schools through Relationship Based Education which equips school leaders, teachers, parents and children with clear language, perspectives and strategies that put kingdom principals into practise. John Hendry OAM guides schools (sports teams and businesses) to focus on five elements of a quality relationship as: Trust, Forgiveness, Integrity, Hope and Compassion. John believes relationships matter – saying we learn through relationships and quality learning takes place within relationships. Parents Victoria are partnering with John to foster this statewide.

The Forgiveness movement is being carried by Aboriginal people who are bringing the message of forgiveness out from remote communities into Australia-wide focus. The key is for us all to hear what First Nations people are saying, and what they discern God is saying at this time.

This is Rob Warren with some of the Beswick leaders, including Loretta & Ray who have held National Forgiveness Week in Arnhem Land for nearly 20 years.

Have you heard, Loretta‘s Story? Forgiveness sets you free…?

Forgiveness sets you free (Loretta's story) - 40 Stories Project

i4GIVE Foundation

The i4GiveFoundation has applied for registered charity status and in addition to an annual i4GiveWeek, will also be developing year-round forgiveness strategies and resources.

Bridget Sakr (pictured with her son Matthew and her daughter Veronique (deceased)) has started a grief counselling charity called HeartFELT. She holds weekly Zoom meetings to support people grieving the loss of loved ones.

The Police Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) has agreed to host Forgiveness Hubs in their premises across Australia. These Hubs will offer assistance to youth struggling with forgiveness issues. A trained Forgiveness Coach will be assigned to each locale.

We expect more forgiveness initiatives to develop over time as more resources and opportunities arise.

Robert Warren’s book has been published in three editions since 2006. It is an inspirational and captivating invitation to join the emerging Forgiveness Movement.

At the last i4Give Week I found myself in conversation with the Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Australia, Anthony Fisher, who said to me, “This Forgiveness Movement is simply a move of the Holy Spirit.”

Rob & I & the teams agree. We are amazed at how the Holy Spirit is opening doors to forgiveness in personal lives, between partnering ministries, ethnic groups and nations.

Lord, teach us to receive and give forgiveness in your Holy Name,

Sue Tinworth

PIPES: Partners in Prayer & Evangelism

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.