The Jerusalem Conference on Forgiveness for the Renewal of Individuals, Families, and Communities–the first forgiveness conference ever held in the Middle East–was organized and produced by the International Forgiveness Institute and held on July 12 and 13, 2017. Now you can view the videotapes of all 22 sessions at no cost to you.
Day 1 of this 2-day conference included speakers from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam discussing what it means to forgive, the importance of forgiveness, and how to better interact with others through forgiveness.
Day 2 focused on how to bring forgiveness to children and adolescents in school and at home. The program included presentations by educators who are implementing forgiveness education, personal testimonies, and opportunities for everyone to contribute their ideas.
Now you can view every presentation of the entire conference whenever you wish. TelePace, an Italy-based telecommunication service, professionally video-recorded all 22 sessions. They are available to you at no charge here.
Conference speakers included:
Is it possible that injustices against us are not as dangerous as our reactions to those injustices? If we do not realize the potential inner damage done to us by people’s unfairness, we could let evil grow in us. Think about that: A person “out there” does bad things and the result is evil “in here,” in you.
When those bad things are serious, when your own inner world is threatened with growing anger and discontent, is there anything at all in this world that can quiet the beast more than forgiveness? I do not think so.
Other people’s troubles can become your monsters within if you give them space, feed them, and allow them to grow. Forgiveness shrinks then eliminates those monsters within.
If you think about it, forgiveness helps you retain your humanity, and to even grow in that humanity at a time when others are trying to let the inner monsters out of their cages.
A major stumbling block is time. Teachers have many mandated requirements and so forgiveness education may be seen as one more pressure. Yet, if you can ascertain the requirements in that school, perhaps forgiveness may fit into one of those. For example, if a school mandates social programs for students getting along, then forgiveness would fit nicely into that. You may have to work within the framework of already-existing social programs if forgiveness will become part of a classroom’s and a school’s offerings. When you keep in mind that our curriculum guides produced here at the International Forgiveness Institute require only about one hour of class time for about 12 or so weeks for an entire school year, then you can see that we have tried to lessen the burden of instruction so that it is possible to offer forgiveness education in any school.
If a person forgives for the other person’s benefit and because forgiveness is good in and of itself, then the forgiver is practicing forgiveness as a moral virtue. If a person forgives with the principle of love (in service to others), then this person is practicing forgiveness on a very high level. I do think, in these cases, that the forgiver is bringing out some of the very best that humanity has to offer.
To grow in any virtue is similar to building muscle in the gym through persistent hard work. We surely do not want to overdo anything, including the pursuit of fitness.
Yet, we must avoid underdoing it, too, if we are to continue to grow. It is the same with forgiveness. We need to be persistently developing our forgiveness muscles as we become forgivingly fit. This opportunity is now laid out before you. What will you choose? Will you choose a life of diversion, comfort, and pleasure, or the more exciting life of risking love, challenging yourself to forgive, and helping others in their forgiveness fitness?
Enright, Robert D. (2012-07-05). The Forgiving Life (APA Lifetools) (Kindle Locations 5359-5360). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.
We have to be careful not to pressure people to forgive. Family members who say that someone “should” forgive another have to take into account: a) how familiar the unjustly-treated person is with forgiveness; b) the depth of the injustice; c) how long ago the injustice happened; and d) how often the other person has engaged in the offense. The less familiar, the deeper the hurt, the shorter the time, and the more often the injustice has occurred, then the more difficult it may be to forgive. It is better if a person is drawn to the beauty of forgiveness rather than pressured into it.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI – Upon Dr. Robert Enright’s recent return from Israel where he organized and conducted the first-ever, two-day Jerusalem Conference on Forgiveness, he was interviewed by reporter McKenna Oxenden for a lengthy article that appeared in Sunday’s Journal Sentinel. Here’s a snippet from the article:
Researching, analyzing and coaching forgiveness was considered radical; the idea was met with resistance, even anger. But Enright forged ahead, and is now considered a pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness, which claims thousands of researchers worldwide.
Enright’s work is in the spotlight more than ever because he focuses on issues that seem to have taken center stage in our culture: bullying and gender-based violence; poverty and trauma, particularly among children; entire groups that feel marginalized or mistreated.
He’s trying to turn around the perception that forgiveness is somehow equated with weakness, and get people to see it as a virtue — an active virtue — like compassion or patience. He’s also trying to show that in the long run, it’s a better answer than: I will never forgive; I will fight and overpower.