Archive for October, 2013
The Clash of Forgiveness and Evil
Lance Morrow: “Evil possesses an instinct for theater, which is why, in an era of gaudy and gifted media, evil may vastly magnify its damage by the power of horrific images.” If this is true, we need forgiveness all the more in our times.
Is there a better way of destroying the damaging effects of evil than forgiveness? As a mode of peace, forgiveness is a paradox because at the same time it is a weapon, one that fights against the ravages of evil. By destroying resentment, forgiveness is a protection for individuals, families, groups, and societies.
Forgiveness and Trust
When you forgive, you do not say, “Because I forgive you, I now trust you.” No. You can forgive and still not trust. If the person is showing you that he or she is a danger to you, then mistrust of his or her behavior is warranted. At the same time, and this is stated specifically to those who have experienced trauma, be careful not to confuse a general mistrust and particular mistrust toward a particular person. In other words, many traumatized people have a pervasive mistrust that needs work. Sometimes the traumatized person meets someone who truly is a good person, reliable, and safe to be with, yet the mistrust from past relationships is so great that he or she just cannot give of oneself in the new relationship. Knowing this and working deliberately on the previous issues of mistrust will help. Forgiveness will help. Time will help. Trust is such a delicate thing and needs work if it will improve.
From the book, The Forgiving Life, APA Books, 2012.
“Professor Enright, can you help me save my country?”
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dept. of Educational Psychology – It’s not a question university professors typically get asked during office hours: “Can you help me save my country?”
Of course, Robert Enright isn’t exactly typical, himself.
It’s closing in on three decades now that the UW–Madison professor of educational psychology has been pioneering the study of forgiveness by researching how people forgive and examining the benefits this action can have on emotional health.
Over the years, Enright has tested his program on a range of groups — including incest survivors, adult children of alcoholics, and children in classrooms in Milwaukee and Belfast, Northern Ireland — helping them work through the process of how to forgive. And the results have consistently shown improvement in themes such as anger, anxiety, depression and self-esteem.
Aware of Enright’s work, Josiah Cheapoo dropped in on the professor last year during office hours. Rev. Cheapoo, a Madison resident who fled his native homeland of Liberia amid the African nation’s bloody tribal wars a decade ago, sat down and looked Enright in the eye.
“I asked him to help me bring freedom to my country,” says Rev. Cheapoo, who runs Grace Network International, a small non-profit based in Madison. “I asked him to reunite the people to become one so we can rebuild the country and have a lasting peace. I asked him to help save my country.”
Thanks to that conversation, a forgiveness education initiative is launching in Monrovia, Liberia, which still is emerging from horrendous civil war conflicts in which it is estimated more than 200,000 people were killed between 1989 and 2003. The highest levels of the Liberian government and education systems have agreed to Rev. Cheapoo’s pitch for making forgiveness education for children part of the reconstruction effort, with the hopes of breaking the cycle of violence.
“I believe we have the knowledge, curricula and experience to help the Liberian people learn about forgiveness and to help put a stop to further unrest,” says Enright.
Read more: Could power of forgiveness hold key to snapping cycle of violence in Liberia?
Help spread forgiveness education, reconciliation and peace throughout Liberia, West Africa. Click the “Donate” button below to become a hero to the children of Liberia.