Top 50 on Forgiveness, Peacemaking, & Justice
Collected here are 50 powerful resources that dive deeper into forgiveness, peace, and justice. This list curates artifacts of the tremendous work by some of the foremost advocates for humanity. Listen and read while gaining a more full understanding of the nature of forgiveness. To help digest these artifacts the list is divided into five sections: top 15 overall, forgiveness theory, personal forgiveness stories, cultural forgiveness, and global forgiveness and peace negotiation. Enjoy!
The list was created by doctoral student of leadership studies Joe Walsh under the advising of Shann Ray, M.F.A., Ph.D., Professor of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University.
#1. Rough Translation: The Apology Broker – NPR with Gregory Warner
Gregory Warner takes a linguistic approach to asking for forgiveness as he explores how Japanese companies and government apologize to World War II prisoners of war. Warner details how language and culture shape expectations we have when granting or asking for forgiveness and how that difference can hinder or extenuate apologies. “Reagan’s apology is a huge success in America with the victims. And more than that, it becomes a catalyst for other apologies.” Warner expresses a catalytic effect that forgiveness asking has on others. As a cultural phenomenon, forgiveness creates a new way of being in community, especially with communities previously considered separate and distant from one another. In detailing the POW response to forgiveness asking, Jim Murphy who was representing US veterans explained: “I was worried that the apology would not satisfy all the people I was representing.” Mediation proves to be a powerful tool to help avoid tokenism of the harmed party, and for bridging cultural divides.
#2. Civil war is Solvable w/ Juan Miguel Santos
Harvard Voices Juan Manuel Santos on Leadership
Listen as President and Nobel Laureate Juan Miguel Santos describes how violence can move towards peace through the process of political forgiveness. President Santos shares a powerful story of learning about conflict and how turning from hardline military personnel to an empathetic ear towards the plight of the opposition. Empathy is on high display throughout the podcast as Santos describes how forgiveness was necessary: “You have to give them a dignified way out if you want them to lay down their arms. The way to do that is to offer them space in our democracy.” Listen for the ways in which an entire system and community must exercise forgiveness to transform their home riddled with violence.
#3. Fambul Tok: Forgiveness And ‘Family Talk’ In Sierra Leone – NPR’s Hidden Brain with Shankar Vedantam and Oeindrila Dube
Turning to Sierra Leone after a civil war destroyed communities, neighbors, and loved ones, Shankar Vedantam looks into a local forgiveness ritual. Fambul Tok, meaning “family time” provides a context of story-based empathy and retribution. While the forgiveness ritual of Fambul Tok is a focus of the podcast, Vedantam spends a considerable amount of time on the restorative impact of a collaborative world after forgiveness. “What we find is that the reconciliation process was inordinately successful in healing the community.” Then, Oeindrila Dube speaks towards the potential harm in a hasty and ill-thought out forgiveness process can have. Due to the nature of forgiveness being intimately connected to harm and trauma, the forgiveness process must be a long-term journey to avoid personal harm.
#4. The True American’ Reveals A Hopeful, Complicated Country – NPR’s Tell Me More with Michel Martin and Anand Giridharadas
Hate, distrust, and religious intolerance plagued the public opinion of the United States following the events of September 11th, 2001. NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with Anand Giridharadas about the story of Rais Bhuiyan who miraculously survived a hate crime just two weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Bhuiyan’s story is one of forgiveness and looking at the disease of xenophobia and othering, and one that challenges a western idea and theory of justice. Giridharadas explains that Bhuiyan noticed an intense hurting under-nation in the United States and that Mark Stroman, the gunman, was the worst expression of a wider tendency towards hate. “the combination of those two streams forced him to come to this realization that I’m going to forgive this guy, but I want to do something bigger than forgiving him. I want to fight a campaign to save him to show people that there’s another way.” Listen to just how pivotal forgiveness can be towards an individual, a way of thinking, and a revelation of the true disease that festers from violence. Watch the documentary An Eye for An Eye directed by Ilan Ziv to watch the full story.
#5. TED Radio Hour: Forgiveness – Guy Ross, Sue Klebold, Thordis Elva, Tom Stranger, and Elizabeth Lesser
Minnesota Public Radio host Guy Ross walks through three powerful stories centered around forgiveness: The mother of the Columbine shooter, a rap survivor and her aggressor, and two siblings as they restore their relationships prior to a bone marrow transplant. “Forgiveness is the ability to understand and put yourself in the other person’s shoes to see what they were thinking, experiencing and feeling, because the need to forgive disappears once we have understanding.” The show swiftly navigates seemingly disconnected stories to reveal a commonality around empathy and how forgiveness becomes a catalyst for a deep human understanding. Forgiveness is a journey to help understand pain and the other, and through that shared meaning new beginnings and futures become possible. The process can sound daunting, especially when the pain has grown old and the relationship complex, however the process can be straightforward. “If you want your relationships to be harmonious, without blame, or without shame, then you must look at your relationships to find what has gone unforgiven. If you want to be happy you must forgive.”
#6. A Human Being Died That Night: A South African Story of Forgiveness – Walter H. Capps Center Series with Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
Recounting moving stories from the Human Rights Violations Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela speaks on the topics of dialogue, forgiveness, and the humanizing nature of both. Gobodo-Madikizela’s retelling demonstrates that each individual in the community has been transformed from hate and violence towards a dedication towards peace through forgiveness. “Ordinary people, under certain circumstances, are capable of far greater evil than we could have imagined, but so are we capable of far greater virtue than we might have thought.” The Truth and Reconciliation Commission used a formal mechanism to create a dialogue for all inflicted by the violence of apartheid. “How the spirit of dialogue was extended beyond those in leadership allowing South Africans to make the invisible visible by finding language to talking about the past though the stories of pain of the past. … When forgiveness happens in this context, there is a humanization of both the victim and the perpetrator.”
#7. On Being: Getting Revenge and Forgiveness- Krista Tippett and Michael McCullough
Krista Tippett speaks with Michael McCullough about the philosophical weight of forgiveness. Western society often looks at forgiveness as a ‘soft’ skill which seems to imply a sort of weak force that can be flippantly achieved. Then, with a high religious and moral connotation, the process itself seems aligned with the divine and saintly, creating a paradoxical outlook of forgiveness that is simultaneously not worthy and out of reach. Taking a philosophical approach, we find forgiveness is not necessarily a divine out of reach idea as it appears in other biological contexts. McCullough introduces research into revenge in biology, interpersonal relationships and principles of forgiveness, and a reflection on the global state of peace affairs and retribution. He’s able to conclude “Forgiveness is a brawny, muscal exercise that someone with a great passion for life and a hearty disposition to take on.” Seeing the natural side of forgiveness proves to be a scalable phenomenon, existing in personal, interpersonal, cultural, and global scales. “In many cases, forgiveness is just a conversation away.”
#8. I Forgive the Man Who Took Me Hostage – BBC Outlook with Matthew Banniste
Forgiveness and morality are inescapably integrated. Still each act is not so ethically black and white as we live in a complex world with complex persons and complicated relationships. Bannieste and the BBC dive into Geert Kruit’s story of Bovensmilde, Netherlands as his elementary school was held hostage by four gunmen in 1977. Kruit describes the initial trauma of the event and the continued mental anguish as he and his classmates continued to live with the local gunman in the same community for years to come. Taking children hostage may seem like an unforgiveable offense to many, but the story only becomes more complex as their motives are explored, and as Kruit and Tom Polnaija, one of the gunmen, engage in forgiveness and eventually grow closer as friends. Listen for yourself to learn more about how forgiveness can provide clarity in a complex and morally murky world.
#9. The Real Risk of Forgiveness And Why It’s Worth It -TEDxLincolnSquare with Sarah Montana
Sarah Montana talks about her journey of forgiveness and her struggles to find exactly how to forgive the murderer of her mother and brother. Her talk looks to dispel some of the societal assumptions of forgiveness and the vague semblances about its practice. Montana reflects about how she felt that she had forgiven her family’s murderer as she’s expressed it to several people, even on public broadcast, and yet she still feels shackled to him and her trauma. Struggling with the ‘how’ to forgive, Montana searches for the ‘why’ of forgiveness and discovers the prison of vengeance and freedom of forgiveness. “Forgiveness is designed to set you free. When you say, ‘I forgive you’ you are really saying: I know what you did and it’s not okay, but I realize I know you’re more than that.” Montana concludes that in order to forgive you must be specific about the exact pain and harm that you are forgiving, and that only pain done to you can be forgiven. This clarity brings about a transformation journey that Montana shares on the TEDx stage.
#10. 99% Invisible: Peace Lines – Roman Mars
What does a peace negotiation process look like without forgiveness as a central component? Roman Mars explores the current climate in Northern Ireland following the Good Friday agreement that brought an end to what is known as ‘the Troubles’. Notably, Mars highlights continued tensions and threats of violence that still plague Northern Ireland today despite the treaties already being signed. Literal barriers separate communities. As you listen a brief historical account and reflections for locals on political and social landscape today, consider the role a lack of forgiveness may have in the mistrust. While peace is agreeable to all involved, a community wide mindset shift has not yet occurred continuing a potential of violence at any turn.
#11. What comes after tragedy? Forgiveness – TED withKailash Satyarthi and Ples Felix
Driven to meditation and a journey of forgiveness by gang violence, Kailash Satyarthi and Plex Felix are brought together to create a lasting bond of peace and reconciliation. The two share their story on the TED stage as they seek forgiveness for the deeds of others. Through their experience, Satyarthi and Felix have created a pathway for peace and forgiveness. “Sustained good will creates friendship. Sustained friendship creates trust. Sustained Trust creates empathy. Sustained empathy creates compassion. Sustained compassion creates peace.” This creates what they call the Peace Formula: friendship, trust, empathy, compassion, and pace. By using this formula, no matter the tragedy, victims of violence can heal, grow, and find ease from the disease of pain.
#12. Becoming Wise: Evil, Forgiveness, and Prayer – Elie Wiesel and Krista Tippett
Krista Tippett publishes this interview in memory of the late Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and holocaust survivor. Wiesel is often asked about the ability to forgive the horrific events that occurred in the concentration camps; however, Wiesel describes a strong theological and categorical reason for why forgiveness is necessary but that he cannot give it. Wiesel speaks to the difference between asking God for forgiveness and asking humans you’ve wronged, namely that God can forgive Evil, but evil against human beings can only be forgiven by human beings. Despite the uncertainty of the forgiveness outcome, Tippett and Wiesel reflect on the importance of asking for it: “Mr. President, why not ask the Jewish people for forgiveness? I’m not sure the Jewish people can accept, but why not ask?”
#13. This American Life Episode 5: Anger and Forgiveness – Ira Glass
Through an exploration of an American political perspective on the role of justice, punishment, and forgiveness, Ira Glass explores several stories around the theme of seeking and granting forgiveness. Glass provides a structure on the podcast to allow for a dialogue about the need for forgiveness to break a cycle of hate and anger pitted against the need for public discourse to guide behavior with justice. “I would say that one way perhaps to break the cycle is to speak of forgiveness. Now, I say that all in the context of, this is not the equivalent of clemency. Forgiveness and clemency are two different concepts.” Reflecting on the weaponized use of anger and unforgiving as a hysteria that fuels a political atmosphere, Glass frames forgiveness as a means of finding a new political landscape.
#14. The Ancient Heart of Forgiveness – Greater Good Magazine, Jack Kornfield, Ph.D.
Dr. Jack Kornfield shares several personal stories on the topic of forgiveness. As a well renowned psychologist and teacher of Buddhist practices, Dr. Kornfield masterfully weaves narrative with Buddhist wisdom to explain the nature of forgiveness and forgiveness practice. This site includes an essay written by Dr. Kornfield as well as three links to public lectures related to his writing. Look for themes of the bridging effect of forgiveness to transform our reality: “Forgiveness shifts us from the small separate sense of ourselves to a capacity to renew, to let go, to live in love.”
#15. The British Psychological Society: Forgiveness – Loren L. Toussaint and Everett L. Worthington, Jr
Forgiveness doesn’t just feel good, it has a marked impact on your physical and mental well-being. The medical research on the impacts of forgiveness has been trending recently and there are already significant findings. While some may view the topic of positivity and speaking as frivolous pursuits in the face of violent situations, Toussaint and Worthington’s detailed account of the medical science provides a thorough retort. Forgiveness is not simply ephemeral and has an impact on each person involved. “Beyond its stress-reduction properties, forgiveness also enhances other health- and wellbeing-related processes.” Toussaint and Worthington explain clearly the connection between the medical benefits and means for health-practitioners and public health officials to promote the benefits of forgiveness in your community.
How to Forgive: with Dr. Robert Enright – Psychology America
Dr. Enright discusses the mental gymnastics that occur when we attempt to avoid forgiveness, and the relief granting forgiveness can give to yourself and everyone around you. There exists a viscous cycle of hatred, pain, and violence that feed upon itself to no end unless the inputs to the system are halted. The only means to do so is to forgive the hatred at its source. Forgiveness is a means of stopping the viscous cycle of hatred from being passed to others and future generations. Forgiveness is not the act of forgetting the past, but “deliberately being good to others that have not been good to you.” Dr. Enright’s definition of forgiveness may sound simple, and in ways it is, however that simplicity allows for applications to many aspects of our lives. “You can forgive someone whether or not that person asks for forgiveness.” Just how many opportunities to forgive are we currently ignoring?
Episode 036: Colleen Murphy on Reconciliation – The Unmute Podcast with Myisha Cherry
Myisha Cherry dialogues with philosopher Colleen Murphy about reconciliation and its relationship with forgiveness and transitional justice. Listen as Murphy challenges societal understandings of reconciliation and justice as she breaks down assumptions for what those mean in today’s society and how we can strive to live peacefully with a working political relationship in a global society. Murphy comments: “I don’t use idea of restoration because very often where there’s a need for political restoration, there isn’t a relationship to return to that is morally defensible. These are relationships predicated on injustice.” Notably, while Murphy argues that forgiveness is not needed explicitly for reconciliation, she constructs an argument consistent with forgiveness research. The scenario built in this podcast suggests that reconciliation is a mechanism of bridging between hurt, anger, and systematic pain in order to create a new political society – just like how forgiveness is used to create new bonds from hate to love to create an emergent future.
Compassionate Presence: Faith-based Peacebuilding in the Face of Violence – University of California Television and John Paul Lederach
Speaking towards the nexus of a Catholic faith, peace, and compassion, Professor of International Peacebuilding John Paul Lederach addresses the topic of forgiveness. Lederach’s talk contributes to the idea that being alongside with others through their pain, suffering, joys, and celebrations as a means of befriending is analogous to forgiveness. “I think compassionate presence in peacebuilding requires that we cultivate a kind of resiliency to courageously face this outpouring of ego in the midst of conflict without replicating its anxious dynamics, and that we nurture the listening heart to live alongside deep trauma without taking over responsibility for healing others.” The role of peacebuilders and leaders is one that requires intense listening and hardiness to endure the suffering along with others. Without that shared understanding and experience we contribute to further othering, increasing the likelihood of a cycle of violence, and reducing the possibility of forgiveness.
Research on the Science of Forgiveness: An Annotated Bibliography – Greater Good Magazine with Adam Cohen
Forgiveness can feel like a panacea and a gift too good to be true. Is it really founded in reality and grounded in theory to be usefully applied? Adam Cohen comprises a strong meta-analysis of scholarship on the seeming fad of well-being, peace, and forgiveness. Moving beyond pop-medicine, forgiveness and forgiveness research is indeed grounded and demonstrates real world benefits. Cohen meticulously details the process of scientifically measuring forgiveness in a way that is easy to understand and wholly convincing of the study.
“Work on the TRIM scale suggests that being more forgiving is associated with greater relationship satisfaction.”
Radio National: Forgiveness – ABC Podcast with David Rutledge and Miranda Fricker
David Rutledge and Miranda Fricker explore a forgiveness with a philosopher’s lens, taking an ethical approach to the mechanisms of forgiveness. How can one engage in forgiveness while preventing a resurgence of blame? Most people may consider themselves to be pro-forgiveness, but naturally taking on forgiveness without thinking complexly might have unintended consequences. “To err is human, to forgive divine” is a popular notion, but what are we really doing when we forgive? Fricker explores the proleptic nature of casual social constructions, or the idea that being treated as if you have a certain feature can cause you to have that feature. In relation to forgiveness we can be operating at the highest level of human sensibility, but by projecting unrelenting blame on another person can rob them of the ability of valuable self-reflection. The ethical consideration here is to find a balance between letting go of the past, finding critical thought about all of our actions, and respecting the dignity of each person’s own rational thoughts.
The New Science of Forgiveness – Greater Good Magazine with Everett L. Worthington, Jr.
Dr. Everett L. Worthington Jr. seeks to understand the truth behind the colloquial understanding of forgiveness. Challenging popular beliefs about the practice, Dr. Worthington takes a scientific approach using medical science, neuroscience, and meta-analysis. “Forgiveness isn’t just practiced by saints or martyrs, nor does it benefit only its recipients.” Dr. Worthington’s writing reveals several promising conclusions about the true nature of forgiveness and hope for its continued practice and learning for the general populous. “When they practiced forgiveness, their physical arousal coasted downward. They showed no more of a stress reaction than normal wakefulness produces.” Through his findings, Dr. Worthington reveals the utility of forgiveness in everyday actions and not just large holy scales of wrongdoing.
Anger, Forgiveness, and Public Philosophy with Myisha Cherry – Why We Argue Podcast with Robert Talisse
Political Philosopher and Vanderbilt University Professor Robert Talisse interviews Myisha Cherry discussing her philosophical thesis on the relationship between anger and forgiveness. Cherry argues against two generalizations of the conception of forgiveness. First about a moral imperative of forgiveness as it can become a form of coercion and manipulation. Forgiveness must come from our own volition to be effective and to be ethical. Second that forgiveness is not just a letting go of anger. It can exist in such a way, but forgiveness does not necessitate an opposition to hate or anger, but rather a general letting go. Each forgiveness will be unique to the person and situation and that letting go will look different for each person.
The Servant-Leader: From Hero to Host – Larry C. Spears and Margaret Wheatley
Two academic pillars on the topic of Servant-Leadership, Larry Spears and Margaret Wheatley dialogue about Wheatley’s writing on leadership and her interactions with Robert Greenleaf’s writings on the topic. Wheatley focuses on the idea of dialogic being with one another as a means of connecting with another person. Through the interview she explains leadership and forgiveness being about observing and walking with others. “I don’t have to fix the person—I just have to really listen. And from that experience I started to see it in so many different settings how, when we truly listen to people, they can heal themselves. I am using the process to restore hope to the future; that was the underlying theme.” Forgiveness is a type of dialogue that brings unity to our lives compared to the separateness of violence.
New Research on Mindfulness and Forgiveness – Mindful with B Grace Bullock Ph.D.
Dr. B Grace Bullock seeks to find the connection between mindfulness and forgiveness. If mindfulness is finding peace within oneself, then forgiveness is finding the peace in relation to others. Their connection appears to be strong in theory. Dr. Bullock’s work explores this correlation. “Students with higher mindfulness scores were more willing to take another person’s perspective, which was associated with a greater likelihood to forgive.” Impressively, a strong relationship with a mindful disposition improves the disposition to forgive. “Those who were asked to mindfully attend to their thoughts and feelings when thinking about a past hurtful event reported less negative emotion and a greater tendency to forgive immediately after mindfulness instruction, but only if they were dispositionally mindful.”
The Power of Forgiveness – Harvard Health Publishing
Forgiveness sounds good, but just how do we go about doing it? That is the precise question the Harvard Health Publishing group seeks to answer as they introduce the REACH method. The article breaks down two aspects to granting forgiveness, the decision and the emotional. “Decisional forgiveness involves a conscious choice to replace ill will with good will. For emotional forgiveness, you move away from those negative feelings and no longer dwell on the wrongdoing.” Learn how to reach for forgiveness in small practical ways.
Happy Face Episode 6: Leroy – Melissa Moore
Melissa Moore’s podcast documents her journey to seek answers and forgiveness over her father’s serial killings. In this episode she connects with Leroy the son of one of her father’s victims to ask for his forgiveness. The production demonstrates the utility of seeking and asking for forgiveness while being respectful to the needs and restrictions from the other person, as well as the emotional journey for all involved personal forgiveness brings. Both accounts of the exchange are recorded as the two grow quickly from seeming adversary’s, to short acquaintances, to partners in learning more about their respective parents.
Challenge Your Thinking: Richard McCann – Dr. Linda Tucker
Dr. Linda Tucker interviews Richard McCann as he processes his childhood trauma caused by the murder of his mother and how he has found freedom with forgiveness. McCann, inspired from a workshop with Desmond Tutu on the topic of forgiveness, seeks to move from a rage towards his mother’s killer to preaching about forgiveness. McCann and Tucker explore the personal aspects of forgiveness in which McCann notes that he’s unequivocally forgiven his mother’s killer but has not yet expressed that to the man. Their dialogue focuses on the opportune time and necessities of forgiveness in order to fully liberate a person from pain and tension.
Living Room Conversations: Forgiveness – Anita L. Sanchez
Living Room Conversations operates on a set of rules that helps the dialogue remain on track while respecting each individual engaging. Listen to this conversation between seven colleagues on the topic of forgiveness. As they grapple with dealing with a seemingly esoteric topic the seven find ways to connect with each other and their daily lives, suggesting forgiveness is an act that is not quite larger than life. The topics range form the physical changes that forgiveness creates, and forgiveness as a group dynamic dialogue rather than solely a personal enterprise. The group explores the opportunities that asking forgiveness affords in renegotiating a social contract and ways of being in community. Listen to their conversation and also take note about the ways of meeting and conversing as an important lesson for addressing forgiveness and creating an equal space for all voices.
The Act of Forgiveness – Global Leadership Network with Immaculee Ilibagiza
Join Immaculee Ilibagiza on her harrowing journey of survival, forgiveness, and spiritual searching through the Rwandan genocide. Ilibagiza details with levity and pose her paradigm shift from hate, to coping, to rationalizing, and ultimately to a place of forgiveness. A personal journey laid bare on stage that the audience seems to transform along with Ilibagiza’s telling. From a place of despair Ilibagiza expresses her faithlessness: “I thought my anger was a way of being a hero.” However, through her own spiritual path she recognizes the coping mechanisms at play in ignoring what true forgiveness looks like.
Brandt Jean’s Act Of Grace Toward His Brother’s Killer Sparks A Debate Over Forgiving – NPR’s Bill Chappell and Richard Gonzales
Amidst political turmoil around police relationships with the Black community in the United States, Brandt Jean gives a passionate speech of forgiveness during his victim-impact statement. Jean’s brother was murdered by a white officer prompting Jean’s act of granting forgiveness national attention. Jean explains in his confession of forgiveness that he wishes the best for his brother’s killer and expressed interest in seeing a new means of justice and punishment considering her expression of guilt. Read Jean’s story and reflect on the onus of forgiveness from the Black community which has historically forgiven atrocious acts and a political landscape looking for further figures to pit blame for pain and trauma. Jean, after asking for permission, ends his statement by asking to embrace his brother’s killer as he wishes her the best.
Regret and Forgiveness – Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations with Cheryl Strayed
Often the greatest roadblock through a personal journey with forgiveness is a fear of implicitly approving of the trauma and harm of the wrongdoing that precedes it. Oprah and Cheryl Strayed dialogue about the means in which forgiveness traverses across the trepidations of regret. Strayed expertly expresses this idea about a coming to terms with the past in order to move beyond it: “The meaning of forgiveness is about accepting that you’re not going to go back and change the past.” The conversation continues to explore just how poisonous it can be to not let go and hold the harm with you. “The injustice was so true or so great, that if I continue to make this claim against this bad thing that happened, in some ways that’s how I will be redeemed. Forgiveness is about relinquishing the sorrows of the past to be able to move forward.”
Befriending my Father’s Killer – BBC Outlook with Manuela Saragosa
The first fifteen minutes of this BBC program contains a visceral example of forgiveness asking and granting. Listen to the stories shared from both parties about the grieving daughter of Theodore Van Sluytman, Margot, as she grants forgiveness and befriends his shooter, Glen Flett. Through tears, Glen explains his reasoning connecting with Margot and ultimately his forgiveness asking. The program is emotionally charged, exemplary of the fact that forgiveness creates new connections, bonds, and futures, without erasing and forgetting the pain of the past. Nor is forgiveness asking a simple matter as Glen and Margot dialogue about the potential dangers of causing further emotional harm and how to approach the topic while respecting the dignity of the other.
Eight Essentials When Forgiving – Greater Good in Action, Robert Enright, Ph.D.
Forgiveness is not just a concept of the mind. It cannot be fully understood simply by listening, reading, or thinking about the ideas and outcomes, but must be practiced as well. This praxis can be challenging as strong emotions and pains are encountered along the journey. Dr. Robert Enright’s work helps meet you along that journey to provide concrete steps to help engage in the forgiveness giving and asking process. And as a reminder and motivation before engaging with the quiz: “Forgiveness does not involve excusing the person’s actions, forgetting what happened, or tossing justice aside. Justice and forgiveness can be practiced together.” Take the quiz to be your guide or review the eight-step plan to help remind yourself what sort of restorative journey is ahead of you.
Violence and Forgiveness in Colombia – BBC Outlook with Dimitri O’Donnell
Returning to the civil war conflict in Colombia, O’Donnell and the BBC bring a grounded perspective and a personal tale of community forgiveness in the face of violence by interviewing locals immediately following the peace talks. The reporter’s account of local residents of San Carlos, Colombia as they reconcile what it means to return back to their homes after the war. Forgiveness can be formidable when it means coming face to face with the hurt and pain you have experienced, let alone living with a constant reminder of that pain. That is what it would mean for the community of San Carlos to rebuild their neighborhood. Yet, they still experience the transformative powers of forgiveness and engage for the greater good. “I forgave because of the peace process. None of us want to return to a point where there are more violent deaths.” This attitude is demonstrative of a community-level mental shift from a state that allowed and perpetuated physical violence to one that fosters and espouses peace.
The Thinking Atheist – Could You Forgive a Killer? – Seth Andrews
Seth Andrews reflects upon the theme of forgiveness as he reflects on the interview between David Letterman and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai hosted on Netflix. Andrews focuses on the implications and state of community, in person and online, that relies upon tribalism and divisive thinking. Yousafzai is surmised: “I won’t be chained to hate, and I am going to commit myself to the good. Not only do I want to see the oppressed freed, but I also want to see the oppressor free.” Through his oral reflection, Andrews juggles how forgiveness can become a vehicle between the black and white, the Good and Evil, and the relationship between walking with or without God(s) has to do with virtue.
The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World – Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs with Michael Ignatieff
Michael Ignatieff lectures about modern ordinary morality in today’s world building, particularly looking at a revisioning of positive virtues like pity, compassion, tolerance, friendliness, forgiveness. Ignatieff’s conception of a modernity of ethics requires a re-envisioning of how virtues are considered moving from a generalized sense to the complex individualize way. In learning from locals in Bosnia recovering from massive Muslim massacre, he found the forgiveness could not be granted to a generalized and unidentified group of people. “The logic or ordinary virtue is extreme individualization: I don’t generalize. I take people one at a time. I take people as they come. I began to learn the moral wisdom of this studied refusal to generalize as being a key to the reproduction of moral order in these conflicted settings.” Forgiveness must be specific.
Parabola Podcast Episode 40: Mercy & Forgiveness – Betsy Cornwell
Looking at forgiveness through an historical lens, Betsy Cornwell and the Parabola podcast explore the harms of colonialism and what a societal asking of forgiveness and making right might look like. On a cultural level forgiveness must traverse the dialogic aspects and instead exist through actions on the symbolic plane. Symbols represent culture and a community’s soul. Acts to restore the soul are equivalent to the acts of repairing an individual’s soul. Forgiveness becomes the act of restoration. Listen further to explore just what forgiveness can look like in resorting communities from cultural harm.
Holocaust survivor preaches forgiveness of Nazis as ‘ultimate revenge’- Amanda Borschel-Dan and Eva Mozes Kor
In an uncommon response to tremendous acts of hate, violence, and evil, Eva Mozes Kor describes her own conception of revenge. Defining revenge not as an action rooted in hate, but rather one that is a direct response to violence, Kor manifests a spirit of forgiveness as the ultimate reaction to hate. Needing to overcome not only the trauma of the holocaust, Kor illustrates a trailblazing ability to stand up to the wrath of her peers in order to advocate for forgiveness of the Nazis. “Because I believe with every ounce of my being that forgiveness is a seed for peace and I need as many people as possible to try it.” Forgiveness for Kor is a method of reclaiming her own personal power meant to liberate herself and others.
The Power of Mercy and Forgiveness – Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations with Bryan Stevenson
Oprah and Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights attorney specializing in death row cases, converse about reframing the justice system from one still shackled by a racist history to one of growth and transformation. Stevenson addresses an idea of getting to higher ground through an interconnection with others. A theme of the conversation is getting to know others, to be close to them and their suffering, such that we can improve ourselves as well as their lives. “We don’t need to blame people; we just need to understand. When people get proximate to the problems and the things they care most deeply about, not only help them do better work and be better problem solvers, it changes them.” By delving into the paradigms that allow Americans to look past race, Oprah and Stevenson explore a forgiveness that is not just a person to person relationship, but also one that can change communities, governments, and systems to transform to a higher ground.
Mother Teresa and Us – National Review Institute with Kathryn Jean Lopez and David Scott
Kathryn Jean Lopen interviews David Scott about his book detailing the life of Nobel Laureate Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu more commonly referred to as Mother Teresa. Scott’s book looks at the work done by the Saint of Calcutta looking to better understand what aspects of her life distinguished her from others working for the church. Furthermore, Scott hopes to distill Mother Teresa’s attributes that can be used and practiced by everyone today. “She believed that love in the little things — a smile, a kindness, a small act of compassion or forgiveness — these little things could change the world.” Scott’s writing focuses on the actions that are feasible and fit into a modern life to create large change.
Forgive Even on Yom Kippur Holocaust survivors say No – The Jewish News of Northern California
The Jewish holy day, Yom Kippur, commands those in the faith to ask fellow humans and God for forgiveness. The Jewish News of Northern California raises the question of Nazi atonement to the Jewish community as the holy days are approaching. On the topic of forgiveness, the article poses a sort of counterargument explaining that forgiveness requires a necessary establishment of repentance as a threshold. “It’s not that the Nazis deserve to be forgiven. But we deserve to be released from the terrible burden of hatred and vengeance.” Rabbi Alan Lew adds that Judaism requires transgressors to complete the process of tshuvah (repentance) before they can be forgiven by those who have been wronged. It is not clear to him whether Germany as a whole has finished this tshuvah. Compared to Wiesel’s writing on the subject, read more about the approach to a culture seeking the right response to deep atrocities.
Best of Belfast: Terry George – Matthew Thompson
Matthew Thompson interviews Oscar-winning filmmaker Terry George, known for Hotel Rwanda, about his cultural impactful films and his background growing up in Belfast. Their conversation comes around to the topic of forgiveness as it can be used against atrocities against humanity like genocide. As a filmmaker, George’s artistic vision on the topic of forgiveness as a relevant and salient idea that is relevant to bettering the lives of his Hollywood audience. Thompson and George question the locality of the idea of forgiveness in Northern Ireland and it’s seeming lack of forgiveness. “In regard to Northern Ireland: We have forgotten the place of forgiveness and have retreated to our tribal walls.” George notices commonalities in a tribalism mindset aiming to separate and distance groups from the other as a primary force that aided violence and acts of genocide.
Remembering Liu Xiaobo – Peace Talks Radio with Paul Ingles, Jeffrey Yang, and Tienchi Liao
In remembrance of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo’s death, who passed while still in state-custody, eight years into his 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”, Peace Talks Radio takes a deep dive into the Xioabo’s evocative writings. What I find particularly impactful and unique about Xioabo’s work is the focus on a system-wide and state level forgiveness process. “For hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscious. The mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and block a nation’s progress to freedom and democracy.” Forgiveness is not just a means of interpersonal relation but transcends to our entire communities and ways of being. There is a unity in the human condition that is found in this transcendence, no matter the background or circumstance: “Forgiveness is a necessary part of progressing as a human no matter what you believe.”
Forgiveness in the African American Religious Tradition: Albert Raboteau – University of Chicago
Albert Raboteau explores the relationship of African American history and faith. His lecture to the University of Chicago sees forgiveness as a means of seeing others, even though the face of deep harm and degradation, as uniquely human and worthy of dignity. On the topic of faith-based forgiveness Rabotaue explains “The assertion of one’s humanity, despite slavery’s denial of their humanity is the meaning behind these difficult sayings of slaves.” African American religious history is so profoundly impacted by the non-violence work done by Martin Luther King Jr. as Rabotaue finds connections between King’s reaction to the Birmingham church bombing and insisting on the dignity of the other. “’Somehow we must believe that the most misguided among them can learn to respect the dignity and worth of all human personality.’ King’s nonviolent philosophy insisted upon agape, an unstinting love that did not permit outward violence or the inner violence of anger, hatred, or even resentment.” Listen to the historical rhetoric still mirrors the language used in today’s politics.
Moral Leadership Missing in Burma – Devin Stewart and Ambassador Derek Mitchell
Devin Stewart interviews US Ambassador to Burma, also known as Myanmar, about the conflict in the area. Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has recently criticized for her leadership through the conflict. Mitchell describes that this perception might be due to a reliance on a positional power to lead through conflict without recognizing the work that is needed to face suffering by each individual person. Mitchell describes the central issue of Burma to be one of a power imbalance and refers to forgiveness as a means of restoring one’s honor and reputation. “Suffering exists on every involved group, not necessarily equally, but requires acknowledgement in order to transform the conflict. The Rakhine have been suffering themselves, and I think that is something that we needed to understand from day one on this issue. Their reputation has been smashed.”
Northern Ireland Politics: The Survivor – Simon Hattenstone and Gerry Adams
Returning to the Northern Ireland conflict, generally referred to as “The Troubles” in search for forgiveness to restore peace and agreement to the area, the Guardian interviews MP Gerry Adams. Adams speaks to his study and research of other peace and reconciliation icons like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. “There is a need for processes of truth, there is no doubt of that. I think the worst kind of grief is unacknowledged grief.” To explore exactly what must be forgiven and to best understand the harm caused in Northern Ireland, Adams looks to find the untold stories and commonalities instead of division. “Martin Luther King described violence as the language of the unheard. If you don’t forgive them, you end up with unnecessary baggage. I have no wish to carry that baggage.” Looking to shed the weight of violence for the country, Adams continues to advocate for forgiveness.
Council on Foreign Relations: Peace versus Democracy in Palestine – President Jimmy
With great power comes great responsibility. Nobel Laureate President Jimmy Carter subsumes the superhero mantra as he discusses his servant leadership philosophy in global affairs. President Carter finds a thematic ally with Robert Greenleaf in his approach to leadership, that a great leader is first a servant to others, and through this connection President Carter establishes forgiveness as a central component of leadership primarily as a service to others. Carter continued asking for forgiveness while navigating politically charged international and peace affairs establishes a positive relationship of love, trust, and transformation. “I think forgiveness encompasses justice, which means that powerful people should be benevolent and kind and discerned to those who are especially in need. I think it’s a matter of humility; a desire to serve others if we are in a position to share what we have; forgiveness, which can lead to the resolution of issues without war; compassion, love – those kinds of things. And to me they encompass the broad aspects of human rights.”
An Afternoon with FW De Klerk: A Talk About the Transformative Power of Change – Dibussi Tande
Dibussi Tande reflects on a talk from the Former State President of South Africa, and Deputy President during the dismantling of apartheid, Fredrik Willem De Klerk. Tande’s reflection of De Klerk’s talk speaks towards the power of forgiveness without directly naming it. Forgiveness representants a risk but is a necessary step in order to move closer to change and transformation. Tande focuses on a change management theme and writes about key takeaways from De Klerk’s lecture noting: “We concluded that the greatest risk that we faced was to refuse the risk of change.” Fear, pretenses, and a lack of creativity prevent us from forgiving and moving towards a newly collaborative future. Where in the change process ought forgiveness play a role?
Forgiveness key for South Korea to advance into the future – Herald Interview with Jo He-rim and John Linton
Just how might the war in Korea be resolved? Jo He-rim interviews John Linton who speaks towards the necessity of forgiving political figures of the opposition as a peace strategy. In order to find peace and justice, the solution must address the fears and desires of the other to find common ground, forgive, and rebuild. “Forgiveness and reconciliation should begin not with North Korea, but inside South Korea.” Linton argues for an ownership from South Korea over the conflict and restoration process and finds agency in their ability to start negotiation. “The average North Koreans are terrified of reunification. To them, capitalism is decadent. And while South Korea is very powerful and rich, the people in the North are worried about what is going to happen to their social statuses. And we need to crush this,” Linton explained.
Blood at the Root: In the aftermath of the Emanuel Nine – The New Yorker with David Remnick
David Remnick writes about the collective response to the Charleston church shootings which killed nine clergy and church members, the Emanuel Nine, by the African American community. Remnick’s writing finds the intersection of politics and the religious based forgiveness embraced by President Barack Obama and other community leaders. Church leaders used forgiveness as a retort to the violence and sentiment that welled in their community and was feeling reinforced with the political rise of white supremacy. “When they forgive, it is a form of resistance, a kind of resilience. It is not bowing down. “Militancy with moderation and grace: it’s what’s behind the rhetoric of building bridges, the urge toward nonviolence and forgiveness, the refusal to surrender to hate.”