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Exploring the Power of Forgiveness in Your Own Life

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From “Four Conversations About Forgiveness,” a collection of essays, practices, and resources that will help you discover the power of love and forgiveness.

Sponsored by The Campaign for Love & Forgiveness


Essay One: WHY FORGIVE?
The concept of forgiveness should come naturally to us. Why? Because we are unique and fallible human beings. Because we make mistakes. We see the world differently. Our preferences, foibles, personalities, and needs differ. Our religions, cultures, and world views differ.

These differences, combined with the daily frustrations, hurts, and injustices we witness and experience throughout our lives, can cause us pain and even inflict deep wounds in our hearts and psyches. For those wounds, forgiveness can be a powerful, self-administered salve. In fact, research has revealed that forgiveness can contribute to our health, happiness, and peace of mind.

For some of us, forgiveness isn’t something we think much about. For others, it is a central life practice. For many, it is misunderstood. When you think of forgiveness, what is the first thing that arises? A thought? A feeling? A memory? What does forgiveness mean to you? Whatever you think of when you think of forgiveness, it is a starting point for coming to a common understanding of this timeless and powerful practice. That is where we will begin.

If forgiveness is a hard concept for you to grasp, you aren’t alone. It’s not an easy practice or process, especially if you’re just starting out. The first time forgiveness crosses your mind or lips is just one moment in a process to untangle yourself from the pain and repercussions of experiencing a hurt, transgression, or injustice.
Download “Four Conversations About Forgiveness” to read more >

Essay Two: THE JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS
Imagine meeting a man for coffee to help you prepare for a presentation. You find out that as teenagers you both hung out at the same hamburger stand. Then, as you look into his eyes, it dawns on you—he and his friends beat you unconscious twenty-five years ago—because you are gay. What would you do? Could you forgive him?


In this case, Matthew Boger did. Boger, floor manager for the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, inadvertently came face-to-face with his attacker, former skinhead Tim Zaal, a volunteer at the museum, who had since turned his life around. After their first dramatic meeting, the two didn’t speak for a while. Then, Boger said, he realized that forgiveness provided the only way to move forward. Zaal apologized and, over time, the two developed a friendship. They now speak to groups about their experience, both hoping to help end hatred and invoke tolerance.16
Download “Four Conversations About Forgiveness” to read more >



Endnotes
16 Gorman, Anna, “Unlikely allies join to fight hate,” The Seattle Times, July 18, 2006, A5.

About The Campaign for Love & Forgiveness

The Campaign for Love & Forgiveness is a secular, nonpartisan, multi-year initiative that explores how love and forgiveness can affect meaningful change in individuals and communities The campaign, initiated by the nonprofit Fetzer Institute, encourages community conversations throughout the U.S.

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