Bridges of Peace Initiatives

Human’s Make Mistakes: Forgiveness360 Workshop

“I did not think I had anything to forgive myself for. But when I allowed myself to be honest with myself, the list of things and situations to forgive myself for, was quite long. I am committed to go through them one after the other. I have learnt to appreciate my humanness. Human’s make mistakes.” This was shared by one of the fifteen participants that took part in the Forgiveness Workshop, organized by Bridges of Peace Initiatives (BPI) and led by facilitator Njeri Ndiangui. The Forgiveness Workshop spanned six weeks, with online sessions held every Wednesday from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM from 17th May-21st June, 2023.

The workshop brought together fifteen participants, both men and women, from Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Nigeria, who sought a life-transforming experience through the exploration of forgiveness. Through interactive sessions, heart-to-heart conversations, and carefully crafted exercises, participants were guided on a journey of self-reflection, healing, and the transformative power of forgiveness. They were taken through the three key perspectives of forgiveness i.e., Forgiving Others, Self-Forgiveness and Asking for Forgiveness.

Many of the participants found the workshop unique and life transforming as one of them expressed; “The Forgiveness Workshop was the first one of its kind for me! It was very informative, enriching and inspiring for me. It was a time of reflection for me, about myself and about relationships around me, especially my family. It was a time of learning and unlearning certain things and ways. It was a time of emptying myself and getting rid of some obstacles in my way. I learnt that people who hurt others are themselves hurting, and so I need wisdom and God’s guidance in my forgiveness journey. I have been challenged to share what I learnt with others.”

Among the participants was a pastor who was very grateful, and he shared how as Ministers of God in the church, people expect them to be free of pain and frustrations. The Pastor was very grateful to be in a process where they could just be themselves, identify and acknowledge where they had been hurt, hurt themselves and even hurt other people. “As a Pastor, people expect us to be free of hurt and pain. I am so grateful that I am in this process where I can embrace my humanity even though I am a pastor. It was humbling to reflect and write the long lists of people that I need to forgive and those that I need to apologize to. Not to mention the list of things I need to forgive myself for. You have empowered me, and I will be able to help very many couples that come to me for help- and the issue of forgiveness is always present.”

Self-forgiveness was a highlight for some of the participants after many years of living with guilt and even shame. It is not easy for human beings when we have done or not done things that hurt us. When we have failed ourselves. That moment when we make bad choices and decisions that hurt us or the people we care about. We beat ourselves up. We lock ourselves into a prison of guilt and shame- very toxic emotions to hold onto. As one of the participants shared; “In the past, I would beat myself up for the mistakes I made, believing that I didn’t deserve forgiveness. However, this workshop taught me that self-forgiveness is an integral part of the journey. I learned to extend compassion towards myself, understanding that we are all flawed beings who make mistakes. Through self-forgiveness, I found the strength to let go of guilt and shame, allowing me to move forward with grace and acceptance.”

Many appreciated the transformative power of forgiveness and how much the conversations are needed as a way to build families; “Forgiveness is a topic that should be discussed every now and then because lack of forgiveness is breaking families and, in some instances, leading to deaths.” Shared one of the ladies.

For others it was about the freedom, liberation and peace that the workshop brought them as expressed by another participant; “Forgiveness has brought me freedom and a sense of peace. I have already taken steps to make apologies and heal my relationships.”

The Forgiveness Workshop proved to be a powerful and transformative experience for the participants. The workshop fostered personal growth, self-reflection, and the cultivation of empathy, allowing participants to embark on a journey towards personal freedom, inner peace, and improved relationships. Bridges of Peace Initiatives (BPI) remains committed to organizing workshops and initiatives that promote forgiveness, healing, trust building and reconciliation, with the vision of fostering a more compassionate and harmonious society.

By Mary Maya & Njeri Ndiangui

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *