Author Archive: directorifi

Societal Influence on. . . . . . .All Kinds of Things. But, What About Forgiveness?

Stop smoking!  The message worked at least in America as the number of people smoking and their frequency of smoking has plummeted over the past four decades ever since the Surgeon General’s warning of the harmful effects of cigarettes.

Societies can alter opinions, norms, and individual behavior.

I find it almost inconceivable that no secular society to my knowledge has ever consciously and deliberately adopted a strategy of encouraging mercy, forgiveness, and justice for its community members and families. I wonder how such a social experiment might work and I wonder what the outcomes would be.
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On Displacing Your Anger

Sophia: When you are angry, do you keep it in or does it sometimes go flying out at others, sometimes to people who are innocent bystanders, such as your stepchildren? Sometimes when people have had a hard day at the office, they come home and yell at the pet dog, when all along the yelling is really meant for the boss.

Inez: I see what you mean. Let me think. Yes, although I hate to admit
it, I can be kind of rough with my stepchildren when Sterling has been huffy with me.

Sophia: Do you see that your anger is meant for him and then you take it out on the children?

Inez: Yes.

Sophia: And they do not deserve it.

Inez: Ouch!

Sophia: Right. You are showing the psychological defense of displacement when you do that—when you take out your anger on others who were not part of the injustice—and everyone does this to a greater or lesser extent from time to time. When we do this, we are not bearing the pain. We are transferring the pain to the innocent.

Inez: No wonder the world is so full of emotional wounds.

Sophia: And our forgiving by bearing the pain helps us not to transfer more wounds to others and into the world.

Inez: I’m listening.

Enright, Robert D. (2012-07-05). The Forgiving Life (APA Lifetools) (Kindle Locations 1175-1187). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.

Enright, Robert D. (2012-07-05). The Forgiving Life (APA Lifetools) (Kindle Locations 1172-1175). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.

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African-American Church has “deep history of forgiveness”

Editor’s Note: This a follow-up article to the story we posted yesterday on the forgiveness offered by the victim’s families to the suspect accused of killing nine people during a Bible study session at a Charleston church (see below). Journalist Adam Harris wrote this article for BBC News.

“What we saw in court today was the best of the black tradition – that your evilness, your hatred will not distort the faith,” says Dr. Eddie  Glaude, professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University. “There is a tendency to normalise black forgiveness and, in doing so, lose sight of what a miracle it is.”

By all accounts, the African-American church has a deep history of forgiveness rooted in faith and tied into the history of white supremacy in the US.

“Members of the black church believe in the ethos of the founding figures: all persons are created equal in the sight of God,” according to Dr. Alton Pollard III, dean of the Howard School of Divinity.

That notion is what makes it easier to forgive.

“God is always greater and because of that, even in horrific conditions, we can still be faithful,” says Dr Pollard. “Because of faithfulness, we have the capacity to forgive.”

That ability to forgive has emerged as both an act of mercy and a tool against oppression.

Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said: “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

“There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us,” he added. “When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

Read the unedited, full-length version of this BBC News article – Charleston shootings: Power of forgiveness in African-American church

Here’s another BBC News article you’ll want to read – South Carolina shooting: Historic Church that hosted Dr King about the amazing history of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and its important role in the civil rights movement. In 1822, for example, the Church was a target of the authorities who foiled a planned slave revolt led by Denmark Vesey, one of the founders. More than 1,000 people were arrested over the plan and 35 of them, including Vesey, were executed and the church itself was burned to the ground. It was rebuilt in 1834. As it looks today. ⇒

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Times of Rest When Forgiving

The quest for forgiveness need not be a continual bicycle race to the end. We cannot forgive constantly any more than we can stay on the bicycle for days at a time without rest. Forgiveness is hard work and so we need to realize this. We need time to refresh, to renew, and then to proceed again.

Forgiveness is not a one-time act for most of us. Instead, it is a journey. This journey has a beginning and when we forgive one person for one event, forgiveness has an end. At the same time, living a forgiving life does not have an end in this lifetime. We are constantly discovering new facets to this diamond.

Take the time to refresh when forgiving one person for one unjust event. And do not forget to enjoy the life-long journey of growing as a forgiving person.


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Charleston Church Victims’ Families Respond With Forgiveness

ABC News Internet Ventures – South Carolina police have arrested a 21-year-old suspect they say shot and killed nine people during a Bible study session he attended inside their historic Charleston church Wednesday night.

Today, during his initial court appearance, the suspect heard not only words of anguish and pain from the victims’ families but words of love and forgiveness as well.

“I forgive you, my family forgives you,” said Anthony Thompson, whose relative Myra Thompson was killed. “We would like you to take this opportunity to repent. … Do that and you’ll be better off than you are right now.”

The families are determined not to respond in kind to the hate that resulted in the deaths of their loved ones, said Alana Simmons, who lost her grandfather, the Rev. Daniel Simmons.

“Although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of hate,” she said, “this is proof — everyone’s plea for your soul is proof they lived in love and their legacies will live in love, so hate won’t win.”

Felecia Sanders survived the Wednesday night attack by pretending to be dead, but lost her son Tywanza. She also spoke in the courtroom. It is not unusual in South Carolina for the families of victims to be given a chance to address the court during a bond hearing.

“We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with open arms. You have killed some of the most beautifulest people that I know. Every fiber in my body hurts … and I’ll never be the same,” Sanders said.

“Tywanza was my hero,” she added. “As we said in Bible Study, we enjoyed you but may God have mercy on you.”

After the suspect was ordered held on $1 million bond for nine murders, his family issued a statement offering prayers and sympathy for the victims, and expressing “shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night.”

“We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims’ families offering God’s forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering,” the statement said.

Read the full story from ABC News: // Charleston Church Victims’ Families Forgive Suspect in Court

Read CNN’s coverage: Charleston church shooter hears victims’ kin say, ‘I forgive you’

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