Archive for November, 2014
One of the paradoxes of forgiveness is that as we give mercy to those who showed no mercy to us, we are doing moral good. Another paradox is this: As we bear the pain of the injustice, that pain does not crush us but instead strengthens us and helps us to heal emotionally.
When we bear the pain of what happened to us, we are not absorbing depression or anger or anxiety. Instead we realize that we have been treated unfairly—-it did happen. We do not run from that and we do not try to hurriedly cast off the emotional pain that is now ours. We quietly live with that pain so that we do not toss it back to the one who hurt us (because we are having mercy on that person). We live with that pain so that we do not displace the anger onto others who were not even part of the injustice (our children or co-workers, for example).
When we bear the pain we begin to see that we are strong, stronger actually than the offense and original pain. We can stand with the pain and in so doing become conduits of good for others.
Today, let us acknowledge our pain and practice a paradox: Let us quietly bear that pain and then watch it lift.
Just three weeks after International Forgiveness Institute co-founder Dr. Robert Enright laid the foundation for “forgiveness as a peace tool” at a 2-day work session hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York City, a United Nations Peace Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, has labeled “justice and forgiveness” as essential tools in peace-building.
Dr. Enright, a University of Wisconsin educational psychology professor, was named to serve on an international “Expert Group” that met Sept. 29-30 to begin developing intervention models aimed at ending gender-based violence around the world. Gender-based violence is compounded in countries experiencing conflict and is negatively impacting broader peace initiatives in those countries.
The United Nations Peace Conference in Geneva, held on United Nations Day (Oct. 24), developed “five tools as the modus operandi of peace building: interfaith dialogue, justice and forgiveness, education (especially to foster intercultural understanding), forming institutions to promote peace, and for peace speech to replace the hate speech that is prevalent, especially in social media.”
One of the Geneva conference speakers, Professor Thomas Michel of Georgetown University (Washington, DC), emphasized the importance of justice and forgiveness as tools to achieve peace. He said one is not possible without the other and that without serving justice no forgiveness should be expected from the victims of oppressors. According to Michel, the way to make people forgive their oppressors is to increase dialogue among groups with animosity against each other.
Although Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen was unable to be at the Geneva conference that was attended by more than 800 participants from 50 countries, he sent a message that was read by German historian and author Jochen Thies. In his message, Gulen underlined the importance of investing in human beings while stating that “building peace means building peace-loving men and women.”
“That is exactly what our Forgiveness Education Program is designed to accomplish,” according to Dr. Enright. ”It is our hope that the same forgiveness program we have been operating in Northern Ireland for the past 12 years; in Liberia, West Africa for 3 years; and the one we just recently started in Israel-Palestine after 3 years of groundwork there, will soon be employed around the world to address violence and peace issues.”
“If students are introduced at age 4 to the inherent (built-in) worth of all people, which we do in our programs, would the amount of violence go down, perhaps dramatically, and would that increase the likelihood of peace?” Dr. Enright asks. “The world needs forgiveness education.”
Uinterview.com (a celebrity video network) – Nate Hatch, cousin and best friend of Jaylen Fryberg, the teen who opened fire on his friends in a school cafeteria on Friday, Oct. 24, tweeted his forgiveness to Fryberg who shot him and others before turning the gun onto himself.
Hatch, 14, was reportedly meeting Fryberg and a group of four of their friends for lunch in the cafeteria of Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington, when Fryberg took out a gun and opened fire, killing two students and seriously wounding two others. Fryberg later died of his self-inflicted wounds.
Hatch suffered facial injuries in the shooting and is listed in satisfactory condition after undergoing surgery to repair his broken jaw at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center.
“It’s sad and it’s tragic. . . but it’s better to have forgiveness because that will help the healing process,” according to 17-year-old Dominique Reyes, a member of the same Tulalip Tribe to which Fryberg and Hatch belong. “We have to move on, and we can’t do that with hate in our hearts.”