Tagged: “Forgiveness books”

Forgiveness Research Goes Viral

Surging world-wide interest in the virtue of forgiveness was vividly demonstrated this week when the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) released updated distribution totals for its prized Forgiveness Research Tools.

In just the past 17 months, the IFI has fulfilled requests for 717 copies of its Forgiveness Research Tools–requests received from individuals and research organizations in 41 countries and 43 US states plus the District of Columbia. The IFI began offering the tools for free on April 1, 2021.

The forgiveness tools were developed by IFI co-founder Dr. Robert Enright and his associates through the Enright Forgiveness Lab that he established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Enright has validated those scientific measuring tools and used them in more than 50 forgiveness research projects he has conducted at locations around the world since 1993.

By far the most popular and most requested forgiveness tool (223 requests) is the Enright
Self-Forgiveness Inventory
(ESFI
) that “captures the Aristotelian view of forgiveness as a moral virtue practiced toward the self.” According to Dr. Enright, the tool is based on the premise that “self-forgiveness is a moral virtue, not a psychological technique.”

Close behind in requests (201) is the Enright Forgiveness Inventory-30 (EFI-30)—a shortened version of the Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Adults that has become the interpersonal forgiveness measure tool of choice for research professionals since its development in 1995.

Two other forgiveness tools developed by Dr. Enright are also extremely popular:

  • The Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Children—an objective measure of the degree to which one person forgives another who has hurt him or her deeply and unfairly (125 requests); and,
  • The Enright Group Forgiveness Inventory—a newly-developed research tool that takes forgiveness from its traditional focus on individuals to a higher magnitude by concentrating on group forgiveness—an area of intervention that has dramatic implications for its ability to enhance peace efforts in the world (109 requests).

Dr. Enright is a licensed psychologist and an educational psychology professor at UW-Madison who pioneered the scientific study of forgiveness. He wrote the first scientific journal article on person-to-person forgiveness, is often introduced as “the father of forgiveness research,” and has been labeled “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine.

In 2019, Dr. Enright received the international Expanded Reason Award from the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria and the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and he holds the Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science (2020) from UW-Madison. Earlier this year he was awarded the 2022 American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Impact in Psychology. His work integrates psychology, philosophy, and psychotherapeutic disciplines.

Dr. Enright’s 37-year quest to harness what he calls “the power of forgiveness” has resulted in the development of curriculum guides for students at each level from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade that are now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.

His groundbreaking clinical manual Forgiveness Therapy, developed with psychiatrist Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons through the American Psychological Association, is the basis for the world’s first online forgiveness education course for psychologists, social workers, nurses, and other professional counselors. It is offered exclusively through the IFI.

“When I first began exploring the virtue of forgiveness, I was unable to find a single scientific journal article on forgiveness that had been published anywhere in the world,” Dr. Enright recalls. “Today there are literally hundreds of such articles and based on the demand for our research tools, that number will soon be growing exponentially.”

Dr. Enright’s forgiveness research tools are available free upon request at the International Forgiveness Institute website: internationalforgiveness.com or via email: director@internationalforgiveness.com.

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Which of your books, Forgiveness Is a Choice, The Forgiving Life, or 8 Keys to Forgiveness, present the deepest view of forgiveness in your opinion?

I would say that The Forgiving Life is the deepest in a philosophical sense.  It is a Socratic dialogue between two women, one of whom is just discovering the importance of forgiveness and an older, wiser person who has much experience with forgiveness.  In this book, I make the case for forgiveness as unconditional love given to the one who offends.

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When It Is Hard to Forgive: Countering Power with Self-Worth

First you need to change your view of who you are as a person if you have been stuck in unforgiveness and are discouraged. The power perspective will tell you that you are less than you should be if your loved ones reject you. Do not listen to the voice of power. It is all too easy to condemn yourself when others first condemn you. Try to counter that power perspective starting now. Who are you as a person? You are someone who has inherent worth even when you struggle in life. You are someone who is special, unique, and irreplaceable even if you have unhealthy anger in your heart. You are not a failure at forgiveness.

Remember that forgiveness is a process that takes time and patience and determination. Try not to be harsh on yourself if you are struggling with this process. How you are doing in this process today is not an indication of where you will be in this process 1 month from now. Who are you?

Excerpt from R. Enright (2015). 8 Keys to Forgiveness.  New York: Norton

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A Family’s Journey from Murder to Forgiveness

Tony Hicks was a 14-year-old eighth grade gang member who tried to rob a pizza delivery driver in 1995. That driver, 20-year-old San Diego State University (California) student Tariq Khamisa refused to hand over the pizza so Hicks, at the urging of older gang members, pointed a 9mm handgun at Khamisa and fired—killing him instantly.

Azim Khamisa forgave the teen who shot and killed his son, Tariq, and now teaches forgiveness skills to young people.

Hicks spent the next 24 years in prison for his crime but is now a free man thanks largely to the forgiveness of Khamisa’s father, Azim Khamisa, who says he saw victims on both ends of the gun. In a remarkable story of restorative justice, compassion, and forgiveness, Azim and his daughter Tasreen spoke on behalf of Hicks during his 2018 parole hearing that resulted in his release.

 

That amazing testimony came about after Azim Khamisa reached out in an act of extraordinary grace and forgiveness to console Hicks’ guardian and grandfather, Ples Felix. When the two men visited a penitent Hicks in prison—a meeting during which Khamisa hugged and forgave Hicks—all three agreed to work together to promote the goals of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation (TKF) that Azim founded shortly after his son’s death.

The mission of the Foundation is to create safer schools and communities by “educating and inspiring children in the restorative principles of accountability, compassion, forgiveness, and peacemaking.” Its Core Values include Integrity, Compassionate Confrontation, and Forgiveness.

“At TKF, we see forgiveness as a process, starting with the acknowledgement that we have been harmed,” says Khamisa. “Through this pain, we tap into the power of forgiveness, the release of resentment. Ultimately, we reach out with love and compassion to the offender.”

TKF services and programs include:

  • Peacemaker Assembly – Powerful, interactive school presentations about the consequences of violence and the importance of accountability;
  • Restorative Workshops – A 10-session educational series that teaches children how they can manage emotions while practicing compassion and forgiveness;
  • Peace Educator Mentoring One-on-one student mentoring for a school’s most vulnerable students;
  • Training Institute – Parent workshops, peace clubs, and others .

According to the TKF website, the organization has delivered more than 500 school presentations, has partnered with more than 300 schools, and is annually reaching more than 10,000 students. Its mentoring program has served more than 2,500 students resulting in a 72% decrease in truancy and a 67% decrease in school disciplinary problems where the program has been implemented.


“Forgiveness brings more balance, peace, compassion and harmony into your life.
As you move beyond the negative experiences of your past you will begin to open up and
create more room to receive more love, joy, happiness, contentment and peace.”

Azim Khamisa


Forgiveness is an important part of all TKF services, according to Tasreen Khamisa who is now the executive director of TKF. She says that while she has forgiven her little brother’s killer, forgiveness did not come either quickly or easily for her.

Tasreen Khamisa (holding a photo of Tariq), forgave her brother’s killer following a 20-year personal odyssey. (Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Although Tasreen’s father, Azim, met and forgave Tony Hicks in 1999, Tasreen was not ready to do so until 2015 — 20 years after her brother’s slaying—when she agreed to meet Hicks at Centinela State Prison (near San Diego). Since that initial meeting, she says, she has forgiven Hicks and has come to see him as a brother.

“I was not there when my father was. And I think that’s OK. Forgiveness is a personal journey,” Tasreen said of her 20-year journey that ended with forgiveness. “I will always love Tariq but I can simultaneously love Tony.”

While Azim Khamisa continues his work with TKF, he has written a book Azim’s Bardo – A Father’s Journey from Murder to Forgiveness. (Editor’s Note: “Bardo” is a Tibetan Buddhist concept Azim came upon shortly after the murder. It is a gap between the end of one life state and the onset of another.) Khamisa has also developed an educational audiovisual program called “Forgiveness – The Crown Jewel of Personal Freedom” in which he writes:  

“The forgiveness choice I made in the aftermath of my son’s tragic death has healed me, my family and loved ones. As a result of this work – I enjoy an abundance of personal freedom and am able to contain much joy and compassion in my life. My stress level has almost disappeared. I am confident that this work – followed diligently – can create the same results for you. My best wishes to each of you – who have chosen to courageously embark on this journey and I offer my sincere prayers that the Universe grants you the blessing of forgiveness as it did me!”

Khamisa has also ushered in an extensive “Resources” section on the TKF website that includes links to several of Dr. Robert Enright’s articles promoted through the Great Good Science Center including his step-by-step strategy called Introducing Kids to Forgiveness” and “How We Think About Forgiveness at Different Ages.”

Read More:

Newly free from prison, a man who killed at age 14 atones for his past and looks to his future – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Why We Need Forgiveness Education – Psychology Today

Forgiveness Education as a Path to Peace Corrymeela Magazine (Northern Ireland)

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If you could recommend one book on forgiveness for me to read as I try now to heal from a very contentious divorce, what book would that be?

In the context of your “very contentious divorce,” I would recommend my book, The Forgiving Life, because it involves a Socratic dialogue between Sophia and Inez regarding a marital conflict that Inez is experiencing. The issues in the dialogue might give you insights into your own emotional-healing process. I wish you the very best in your courageous journey of healing.

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