School Mass today and the theme is forgiveness. So I tell a story about Jimmy and Sammy and Sammy complains that Jimmy is bullying him. It might help you. It might help your children or your CCD or your grandkids.

Mr Magnanimous the kindly teacher asks Sammy if he wants to forgive Jimmy.

“I guess so.”

“But you don’t know how right?”


“Have you ever heard that saying, ‘To know all is forgive all?'”

“I think so.”

“Well therefore you can’t forgive unless you know as much as possible about the whole situation and the person involved. That makes sense doesn’t it?”

“I guess.”

“So here are four ‘g’ to do so you can forgive. It’s ‘Four Gs’ to ‘ForGive’ Got it?’

Mr Magnanimous continues, “First ‘G’ is ‘Gather the information.’ Did you know Jimmy is from a family of five boys and they’re all football players and wrestlers and when their Dad comes home instead of giving them a hug he gives them a punch on the arm because that’s how they love each other. Maybe Jimmy, when he wrestles you and picks on you is actually just being your buddy. Had you ever thought of that?”


“Well, it could be. So you have to gather the information. Second ‘G’ is ‘Give the Benefit of the Doubt’ Believe it or not Jimmy doesn’t get up in the morning trying to plan how to be a nasty person. Nobody does that. Not even Darth Vader. Everybody means well even if they mess up sometimes so you should give them the benefit of the doubt. That means you think they mean well even if they mess up. It’s like that with you isn’t it? You don’t mean to get it wrong on purpose do you?”

“No. What’s the next ‘G’?”

“Get into their skin. Try to understand the other person’s perspective. Try to imagine what it’s like to be Jimmy. Then you will be able to forgive him because you’ll see he’s a person just like you with some problems but also with some strengths and good stuff. Okay so far?”


“The last ‘G’ is ‘Go the the person.’ This is the really hard one. You have to get up the courage to go to the person and sort things out–not just complain about things and talk behind people’s backs. Can you do that?”

“I dont’ think so.”

“The you won’t be able to forgive. But I think you can do it,” said Mr Magnanimous “because you’re a good person who wants to do the right thing.”


“So remember the four G’s – Gather the Information. Give the Benefit of the Doubt. Get into their skin. Go the the person. Then there is a fifth ‘G’. It’s ‘Give’ If you Give you Get. If you Give your forgive. If you practice the four Gs you can Four Give. Ready to try it?”

“Okay. I’ll try it.”