Archive for November, 2015
Orthodox Christian professionals in and allied to medicine, psychology and religion learned about “The Healing Art of Forgiveness” at an international conference held in Boston, MA, last weekend (Nov. 5-7).
Peli Galiti, Ph.D., delivered the forgiveness workshop as part of the Annual Conference of OCAMPR–The Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine, Psychology, and Religion. She shared the stage at the Conference with distinguished speakers including: the Director of the Pediatric Psychiatric Care Program at the Montreal (Canada) Children’s Hospital; a psychotherapy and pastoral care specialist from Kitherona, Greece; and, a psychiatrist who is a priest in the Church of Greece and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Divinity School.
Peli’s workshop included an Orthodox perspective of forgiveness, a synopsis of Dr. Robert Enright’s scientific research studies, and an overview of the Greek Forgiveness Education Program she established in Athens, Greece, two years ago with Dr. Enright’s guidance and which she now operates as Program Manager for the International Forgiveness Institute.
Peli was born in Athens where she earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Athens before doing post-graduate work in family therapy at hospitals and medical centers in both the US and Greece. She now lives in Madison, WI, with her husband (a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist at American Family Children’s Hospital) and their four children.
OCAMPR is an organization that “fosters interdisciplinary dialogue and promotes Christian fellowship among healing professionals in medicine, psychology and religion.” Its professional members have practices in medicine, nursing, mental health, psychology, ethics, theology, parish ministry, parish nursing, prison and community ministry, social services, and military, institutional and community chaplaincy.
Peli provided a similar presentation at the biennial Metropolis of Chicago Clergy-Laity-Philoptochos Assembly, Archon Retreat and Philoptochos Retreat held in Madison from Nov. 14th through Nov. 18th. The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago consists of thirty-four parishes in Illinois, with another twenty-four parishes in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, northern Indiana, and eastern and central Missouri.
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.
Forgiveness is not justice and therefore focuses on effects, not direct solutions to injustice. When injustice reigns, it surely is the duty of communities to exercise justice to counter that which is unjust.
Yet, what then of the effects of the injustice? Will the quest for and the establishment of justice in societies suffice to cure the broken heart? We think not and this is where forgiveness is needed for those who choose it.
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.
From the pen of Patrick Wells, producer, director, video journalist:
“Formal Forgiveness Education, invented by Robert Enright, is the best idea the Human Race has had since Jesus preached Forgiveness.”
Many people on the planet continue to exist within a tribe, sect, gang, race or mentality, unable to overcome hatred or prejudice against another group. This frequently manifests itself as violence. Learning how to forgive may be the best and fastest way to end systemic negativity against “other peoples.”
The best opportunity we have is to treat forgiveness as a skill and teach it at an early age in our elementary schools. If we can convince our children of the power and importance of forgiveness, when they become adults they will certainly be able to make effective use of this vital skill.
“Forgiveness has the potential to transform our communities that have not known peace for decades and reshape our world.”
FIRST PUBLISHED IN WASHINGTONPOST.COM, 2010. READ THE FULL ARTICLE: “EMBRACING FORGIVENESS EDUCATION TO RESHAPE OUR WORLD.”
In your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you talk about finding meaning in suffering. You talk about growing beyond yourself. What does this mean?
When people find meaning in suffering they often develop a deeper sense of what it means to be a person. You may begin to see, for example, that your suffering has shown you that all people suffer, all people are emotionally wounded to one degree or another. You begin to realize that your suffering is making you a more sensitive person to other people. In other words, your world expands as you see humanity more deeply.
I was hurt in a 5-year relationship and now I am hesitant to get into any other relationship. Does this lack of courage on my part suggest that I have not forgiven the one who hurt me?
The issue here seems to be one of a lack of trust. You may or may not have forgiven the one with whom you were in a relationship for the 5 years. Even if you have completely forgiven, you still may lack trust and this is not a sign of unforgiveness. It is a sign that you know hurt is possible when you commit to others. Forgiveness can help with taking the risk and at the same time your using common sense in the new relationship, along with sincere acts of trustworthiness by the other, should help to slowly create a trust with the new person.