Author Archive: directorifi

Forgive and Forget: What Does It Mean? Is It Dangerous?

Forgive and Forget 2Here is a syllogism for you:

Premise #1: To forget is to not remember in the sense of moving on and not letting the emotional effects of injustices bother us any more.

Premise #2: To forgive is to forget.

Conclusion: Therefore, when we forgive, we do not remember what happened to us, making us vulnerable to continued injustice.

Implication:

When we fail to remember what happened to us, this can be dangerous because we might let others again take advantage of us.

Because forgiveness might hasten our not remembering, forgiveness is dangerous.

What is wrong with the above argument?

In logic, we have just committed the fallacy of equivocation. By this we mean that there are two very different meanings of at least one word in the argument. The first use of the term “forget” in Premise #1 equates to “moving on” or “putting the injustice behind us.”

The second use of the term “forget” in the Conclusion of the syllogism equates to a kind of amnesia, a blotting out of what happened rather than a moving on from what happened.

Yes, when we forgive we forget (meaning #1) in that we move on.

No, when we forgive we do not forget (meaning #2) in that we can no longer remember anything of what happened, making us vulnerable to another’s continued injustice.

To forgive is to forget in a certain meaning of that term and given that meaning, to forgive is not dangerous, at least not in the sense of “dangerous” meant here.

Dr. Bob

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The Light of Forgiveness

CandleThis might help you understand what it is you are doing when you forgive. We are in a dark room, which represents the disorder of unjust treatment toward you. As you stumble around for a match to light a candle, this effort of groping in the dark for a positive solution represents part of the struggle to forgive. As you now light the candle, the room is illumined by both the light and warmth of the candle. When you forgive, you offer warmth and light to the one who created the darkness.

You destroy the darkness in your forgiving.

Now here is what I am guessing you did not know about the light of forgiveness: That light does not just stay in that little room. It goes out from there to others and it even continues to give light across time. For example, if you shed light and warmth on a person who has bad habits, he or she might be changed by your forgiveness and pass it along to others in the future.

Now consider this: If you give this warm candle of forgiveness to your children who give it to their children, then this one little candle’s light can continue across many generations, long after you are no longer here on earth.

I am guessing that you had not thought about forgiveness in quite this way before.

Dr. Bob

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Dr. Enright to Speak on “Healing Individual Hearts and Nations”

Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, will be giving a talk entitled, “Forgiveness Therapy and Forgiveness Education: Healing Individual Hearts and Nations,” on April 10, 2013, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Roundtable Luncheon, 11:45am to 1pm in Union South, Varsity Hall.

According to the luncheon announcement: Robert D. Enright is professor in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is president of the International Forgiveness Institute, has lectured across the country, and has appeared on ABC’s 20/20.

Within psychology, the study and implementation of forgiveness therapy is now taken for granted. Thirty years ago, no such therapy existed. The pioneering research that opened this to the therapeutic world was started right here on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus by Professor Robert Enright, Department of Educational Psychology. He has now extended this work to include forgiveness education in contentious regions of the world such as Belfast, Northern Ireland, Liberia, and Africa.

In this presentation, Professor Enright will address what forgiveness is and is not, how people forgive in a therapeutic context, including the research which helped the American Psychological Association to judge forgiveness therapy as an empirically-verified treatment, and how forgiveness education operates in Belfast and Liberia.

Register on-line.

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Shooting Victim’s Forgiveness Never Wavered

Omaha World Herald, Omaha, NE – His voice weak from an August 2011 shooting, Kerry Baker told his wife in a near whisper to forgive the young men involved in the robbery that left Baker paralyzed from the neck down.

“Kerry would always tell me, ‘You have to forgive them. They got what they got,'” Andrea Baker said, her voice breaking. “I’ve forgiven them. But I’m mad at them. So mad at them. And Kerry never was.”

Baker, an author and a barber, had been confined to a bed in his north Omaha home since he was shot by gang member Josh Provencher during a botched robbery at his barbershop.

The anger multiplied last week when Baker, 42, died–a death that authorities believe may be related to complications of the shooting and paralysis. Now Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine is mulling whether he can bring a murder charge against Provencher, who already was sentenced to 47 to 99 years in prison for Baker’s shooting.

In a September interview, Baker talked about how much he loved telling stories in print or at the barbershop. His once-husky voice was barely audible over the hum of his ventilated bed. But he wanted it made clear. He was moving forward. And he had forgiven Provencher.

Read the full story: “Shooting victim’s forgiveness never wavered.”

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A Truly Wonderful Story of Forgiveness

anything is possibleEighteen-year-old Takunda Mavima was driving home from a party when he lost control and crashed his car into an off-ramp near Grand Rapids, Michigan, in May of last year. Two passengers in the car–17 year-old Tim See, and 15 year-old Krysta Howell–were both killed in the collision.

Takunda Mavima lived.

Mavima pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to between 30 months and 15 years in prison.

Despite their unimaginable grief and anger, both the sister and the father of victim, Tim See, gave a moving address to the court on behalf of Mavima, urging the judge to give him a light sentence.

“I am begging you to let Takunda Mavima make something of himself in the real world. Don’t send him to prison and get hard and bitter, that boy has learned his lesson a thousand times over and he’ll never make the same mistake again,” See’s father said.

And when the hearing ended, the victim’s family made their way across the courtroom to embrace, console, and publicly forgive Mavima.

Read the full story: “A truly wonderful story of forgiveness.”

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