Archive for February, 2015
Is there a way to see who’s more forgiving? For example, if someone forgives a murderer of her beloved, is that person more forgiving than another person who experienced comparably a minor injustice?
From the examples given, it seems reasonable to assume that we can see which person has the harder task of forgiveness, but difficulty and “more forgiving” are not equivalent. Regarding the “more forgiving” issue, I think we have to look at these factors: 1) How often does a person forgive? 2) How valuable is forgiveness for this person? 3) Does the person have a “love of the virtue,” as Aristotle suggests for maturity, and finally 4) Is forgiveness an important part of the person’s identity, part of his or her life?
In Part 1 we began to define the dimensions of what a Family as Forgiving Community is. We continue the discussion with some practical advice that we call the Family Forgiveness Gathering.
The parents are encouraged to create a time and place for family discussions. We recommend that the parents gather the family together at least once a week to have a quiet discussion about forgiveness. They are to keep in mind that to forgive is not the same as excusing or forgetting or even reconciling and that forgiveness works hand-in-hand with justice.
Questions for the family forgiveness meeting might include:
– What does it mean to forgive someone?
– Who was particularly kind and loving to you this week?
– What did that feel like?
– When the person was really loving toward you, what were your thoughts about the person?
– When the person was really loving, how did you behave toward that person?
– Was anyone particularly unfair or mean to you this week?
– What did it feel like when you were treated in a mean way?
– What were your thoughts?
– Did you try to forgive the person for being unfair to you?
– What does forgiveness feel like?
– What are your thoughts when you forgive?
– What are your thoughts specifically toward the one who acted unfairly to you when you forgive him or her?
– How did you behave toward the person once you forgave?
– If you have not yet forgiven, what is a first step in forgiving him or her? (Make a decision to be kind, commit to forgiving, begin in a small way to see that the person is in fact a person of worth.)
The parents are reminded that they do not have to know all the answers.