I had a close friend group. Because of Quarantine our friendship got strained. All of the friends, except for me, are getting into college, transition to their next stage of life. I have always felt like a burden and worthless compared to them. So, being friends with them made me feel like I had worth. We now have had some conflicts and I hurt one of the friends who cannot get past the conflict, even though I apologized. She does not believe I have grown, even though I have. What can I do?
I recommend four approaches:
1) Please reflect on the fact that you have inherent (built-in) worth no matter your state in life. Your friends are not more important than you are just because they are going to college. You all share the fact that each of you is special, unique, and irreplaceable;
2) Your apologizing is a very good first step. Congratulations for doing this. It now is time for some patience. Sometimes others are not ready to receive our apologies just yet and so we have to wait for a while;
3) If your friend continues to say that you “have not grown,” you could begin to forgive her for this incorrect judgement;
4) Once you have forgiven her for this, you might consider re-approaching her with this: You already have shown remorse or inner sorrow. You already had repented as seen in your apology. Is there anything else she thinks that she needs from you now so that her trust toward you can become re-established?
If you engage in these four approaches, it is my hope that your friendship with her and with your group will occur.
For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.
A community is a single, whole entity, with a common purpose, made up of persons, each of whom is a single, whole entity (Maritain, 1994). A community is not simply the sum total of the individuals in the community (a nominalist view). Think of a symphonic community of musicians. There is a harmony of persons performing different activities and with different talents in the orchestra. The group transcends any given part of the group (Wild, 1948). A symphony orchestra is more than the violin section only. Communities differ in their norms, beliefs, and actions (what Aristotle calls accidents).
Aristotelian realist philosophy states that communities have a common good (Aristotle, 1999/340 B.C.). A common good is defined by Plato (2015/330 B.C.) in The Republic as persons growing in the Cardinal Virtues of justice, courage, wisdom, and temperance with these emphasized within the group. These four virtues, in Plato’s view, are not generated by opinion or feelings, but they naturally apply to all persons and all communities. These are understood by reason and chosen by the free will of each person. In other words, the Cardinal Virtues are not forced upon us.
Let us, then, define these Cardinal Virtues: 1) Justice is offering one’s best to others and the community. Kreeft (1992, p. 60) describes Platonic justice through the poetic image of music: one strives to be in harmony with others as all cooperate and play a beautiful societal tune. This is the central virtue according to Plato in The Republic.
is going ahead despite fear so that one can do one’s best even when it is difficult to do so. 3) Wisdom is knowing the right response at the right time without having a rule-book nearby. 4) Temperance is balance, avoiding too much or too little in all we do, including practicing the virtues, in pleasure seeking, and work. In Book IV of his Republic, Plato (2015/330 B.C.) defends the view that all four of these Cardinal Virtues, together, help to mature individuals and to have a well-functioning community in which the greater good then benefits all.
As Wild (1948, p. 185) clarifies, the goal of the common good is human perfection for all in the community. The common good of the community, which includes the good of each person, is considered higher than the individual good. In other words, individuals can be in service to one another for the good of the other person and the good of the group.
Now, and importantly for how forgiveness fits into the common good of the community, when people are treated unjustly by others, anger can ensue, which can develop into irritability (Stringaris, Vidal-Ribas, Brotman, & Leibenluft, 2017) and even to hatred. Forgiving those who are unjust, then, can first reduce the anger, which in turn can reduce the desire for excessive recompense (in the case of justice), and the desire for reckless bravado (in the case of courage). Without hatred, temperance can be restored, and the clear, rational thinking of wisdom can once again be present. If the common good is to be just, to work in harmony with others, then forgiveness can keep justice in balance, by first reducing toxic anger, and thus preserving the central Cardinal Virtue (justice) in communities. If this is true, then forgiveness needs to play a central part in the common good of communities.
If this is true, then forgiveness needs to be fostered in individuals, families, schools, workplaces, and places of worship……now.
- Aristotle. (1999/340 B.C.). Nicomachean ethics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Kreeft, P. (1992). Back to virtue. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
- Maritan, J. (1994). The person and the common good. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
- Plato, translated by B. Jowett (2015/approximately 330 BC). The complete works of Plato/ the republic. Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom: Delphi Classics.
- Stringaris, A., Vidal-Ribas, P., Brotman, M.A., & Leibenluft, E. (2017). Practitioner review: Definition, recognition, and treatment challenges of irritability in young people. Journal of Child Psychology, 59, 721-739.
- Wild, J. (1948). Introduction to realistic philosophy. New York: Harper & Row.
Beirut, Lebanon – A massive explosion in Beirut’s port on Tuesday killed at least 135 people, injured more than 5,000, and displaced some 300,000 others from their homes. At least 100 people remain missing following the explosion that damaged more than 50% of the city. Debris from damaged buildings litters the streets of Beirut following the Tuesday explosion that has been called “one of the world’s largest non-nuclear detonations.” Beirut is home to 2 million people. (Ramy Taleb photo)
According to the Lebanese government, the source of the explosion was 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, an explosive chemical often used as fertilizer and sometimes in bombs, which had been stored in a port warehouse after being confiscated from an abandoned Russian-owned ship in 2014. Unconfirmed reports also indicate that the warehouses were storing more than 200 surface-to-air missiles.
The blast destroyed or damaged most structures over an area of about 160 acres (larger than the entire Disneyland Park in Anaheim, CA) including a building that served as a headquarters and operations base for Forgiveness Education projects in Lebanon. The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon (FFRL), a Beirut non-profit organization, was using the building as the center for its “Play for Peace” program.
Play for Peace is part of FFRL’s Forgiveness and Peace Curriculum that is designed to build bridges between participants from diverse backgrounds–Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Muslim, Christian and others–through football (better known elsewhere as soccer, the world’s most popular sport). The program operates in partnership with Al Shabab Al Arabi Club Beirut, a 40-year-old Lebanese football club. Watch a 3:36 Play for Peace video.
“Yesterday we were in Bourj Hammoud checking on our Play for Peace families who live there,” says Ramy Taleb, founder and director of FFRL. “Most of their houses are gone or broken, just like our building. These families are now in desperate need of support for medical and general humanitarian assistance.“
Bourj Hammoud is a municipality about a kilometer east of Beirut’s port area (where the explosion occurred) and one of the most densely populated districts in the Middle East that includes large numbers of refugees. According to Mercy Corps (a global team of humanitarians working in Beirut), refugees now account for about 30% of Lebanon’s population.
“Today we went back to Bourj Hammoud with our youth group from Saida (a city in southern Lebanon also known as Sidon). We listened, we wept, we began to clean up so families can somehow rebuild,” Taleb said. “Many of these families were in need of assistance even before the explosion. Lebanon has always been a country of great resilience, but when is enough, enough?”
Taleb’s frustration reflects the complexity of the situation in Beirut. While searchers are still pulling bodies from the rubble, the explosion destroyed the country’s main grain silos, spilling and contaminating 15,000 tons of their contents. That, together with the COVID-19 pandemic, is pushing Lebanon toward a major food shortage.
“We desperately need help,” Taleb says. “Our families need help. Our children need help. We always appreciate any support that we can get and now is when we need it most just to survive.”
Please support the people in Lebanon who survived the horrific explosion. Watch a 56-second video of the destruction in Bourj Hammoud as described by Ramy Taleb then click the picture above to let those in Lebanon know they are in your heart.
- Visit The Foundation for Forgiveness and Reconciliation in Lebanon website.
- Watch a short 3 min. 17 sec. video about the FFRL.
- Review the Grade 6 FFRL Forgiveness and Reconciliation Curriculum.
- Donate to help FFRL build a generation of future Middle-East peacemakers.
Photos and Media Coverage of the Beirut Explosion:
If I forgive my own child for misbehavior I am concerned that this is giving the wrong message. I might be creating a sense of entitlement for that child who now comes to expect forgiveness and so continues to misbehave.
As you forgive, be sure to included justice as well. Yes, forgive when you are feeling resentful, but then ask something of the child so that correction occurs. When you ask for fairness when you are less angry, then what you ask may be even more fair than if you ask when fuming with anger.
For additional information, see Forgiveness Defined.
What if there is no justice in place to protect you? Perhaps, it is a problem with justice not forgiveness, but do you still recommend forgiveness even if justice is not available to protect you? Why or why not?
Are you asking this?—What if the boss is obnoxious and you want to leave? The old job with this boss is bad for you and there is no better job on the horizon. Might forgiving the boss keep you in an unhealthy job? I do not think that forgiveness is a weakness here. You can forgive and then perhaps, with reduced anger, ask for a more just situation with the boss. In this case, forgiveness may help you to seek fairness where, right now, justice does not exist. Your trying to **create** a just situation, after you forgive, may be your protection.
For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.