Tagged: “Inherent Worth”
I re-read one of our posts here at the International Forgiveness Institute. It was dated February 29, 2012. What surprised me is this: It was as if I were reading a contemporary news item from 2022.
As you read the 10-year-old essay below, consider asking yourself this: Has anything changed for forgiveness within societies in that timespan? What must we do so that in 2032 the news is not a repetition of the past 20 years?
Here is that essay from 2012:
Peter Maurin of the Catholic Worker Movement is alleged to have said that a good society is one in which it is easy to be good. I write this blog post today as I reflect on some recent news stories (posted in our Forgiveness News section of this website). We have the shooting of innocent teenagers in Ohio and we have the murder of a 4-year-old. Anger can sometimes be deadly for the other person who just happens to be in the angry one’s way.
I wonder what those outcomes would have been had those with the weapons been bathed in forgiveness education from age 5 though 18. I wonder what those outcomes would have been had the weapon-carriers, as they grew up, practiced forgiveness in the home. I wonder.
The wounds in the world are deep and everlasting, it seems. What we do here at the International Forgiveness Institute, Inc. (helping people if they so choose to learn to forgive and then practice forgiveness) will never be out of date. Yet, my big worry (yes, it is a big worry) is this: Will there be sufficient laborers in the forgiveness vineyard to bring the virtue of forgiveness to children so that they can become fortified against the grave injustices that come to too many too often as adults?
I worry about those 6-year-olds, sitting now in classrooms, learning their mandated ABCs, without also learning the ABCs of how to deal with injustice. You see, society is not emphasizing forgiveness. We are not being taught forgiveness on a regular basis. We are in a society where it is not easy to be a good forgiver. And so too many of those who are bullied in school do not even think to forgive those who perpetrate the bullying. In Ohio this week, one bullied student’s response was a gun and then murder.
So much pain in the world and yet too many societies do not have the vision and the resources to bring forgiveness education far and wide. Question for those who are listening: The next time a city wishes to build a $250 million complex for athletics or entertainment or whatever, who has the persuasive skills and accompanying wisdom and courage to ask that one half of one percent of that be siphoned off to forgiveness education? If we could go back and ask the deceased students in Ohio or the innocent 4-year-old what is the higher priority….what do you think they would say to us?
Society, what do you think?
I don’t see how a person can get over anger if the other person has moved away. There is no contact anymore. How can one then dialogue about the issue so that the anger diminishes?
Reducing anger is not dependent on having face-to-face contact (or even written or virtual contact) with the other person. Reducing the anger is a matter of the heart. You can begin thinking about the other person in new ways, seeing this person’s vulnerabilities and eventually even seeing the person’s built-in worth. You can do this for people who are not with you now, even for those who are deceased.
I have tried cognitive and cognitive-behavioral therapies and they do not work in a deep way for me. In other words, I can change my thinking about the situation, try not to see it as a catastrophe, but still I have unsettled emotions inside that need healing. Can forgiveness aid the recovery of more positive emotions and, if so, how does this occur?
Yes, you could include forgiveness in your therapeutic work. In contrast to the therapies in which you have engaged, forgiveness goes beyond the examination of your symptoms in the context of the injustice(s) against you. Forgiveness therapy goes to the root cause of the continued emotional upset by having you do the work of focusing on the one who hurt you, trying to see this person as someone who possesses inherent worth. As you see the other’s worth, this can enhance a sense of empathy and compassion toward the other and this has the paradoxical effect of lowering the temperature of your anger. So, adding forgiveness to your program likely will be beneficial for you. I wish you the very best in your healing journey.
How do I “acknowledge the other person’s humanity” when this person acts more like an animal than a person. Sorry for such a negative statement, but this is how this person behaves.
Please keep in mind the distinction between what Aristotle described as each person’s “potentiality” compared with the person’s “actuality” in behaving in accord with the moral virtues. The one you described as acting “like an animal” is not actualizing the potential for high level human behavior. Yet, this person still has the “potentiality” to achieve this, with proper virtues education and encouragement by wise people. As you see this potential, you are acknowledging the humanity in the other person.
While the other cannot benefit in any direct, physical way from your forgiveness, there are two areas of benefit for your consideration: 1) You may be able to create a positive (and truthful) view of that person, preserving a more dignified reputation for this person than might have been the case if you speak negatively about the person to others; and 2) you, yourself, as the forgiver, may find that your resentment melts and so you feel better upon forgiving.