When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it? — Eleanor Roosevelt
In Today's Workshop...
We examined forgiveness in different situations: from the viewpoint of an individual in the criminal justice system, to nations seeking forgiveness for past wrongs, to forgiving ourselves. We talked about steps to take to seek forgiveness and to grant it.
- Explore what other faith traditions teach about forgiveness. What is there to learn from the teachings of Buddha? What do the Quran and the Torah say about forgiveness? Al-Islam has an article about forgiveness. What others can you find?
- Remember that in Unitarian Universalism our own experiences and those of our family and friends can be held in as high regard as religious texts. Talk with those closest to you about forgiveness and how you see it as connected to the first Principle. Share stories about the times you found it hard to forgive.
- If there is someone in your life you need to forgive, think about what would need to happen for you to do so. If the person wants reconciliation, can you talk with them about the steps that need to be taken? Conversely, is there someone you need to apologize to? It is never too late. If either or both of these tasks seem insurmountable, ask a friend or family member to help. Think creatively. If you are not ready to face them, perhaps a card will open the door. How about creating a mix tape of songs about forgiveness? Try "Forgive Me" by Leona Lewis, "Prodigal Son" by the Rolling Stones, or "Human" by Brandy.
Get the video, The Power of Forgiveness, from your library, Netflix, or video rental store. The movie has several stories of people in great conflict who have chosen to forgive. The website for the film has a study guide, additional resources, and a quiz to see how forgiving you are.
- The book, Farewell to Manzanar, by Jeanne Wakatsuki, Houston, James D. Houston and James A. Houston (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002) will help you understand conditions suffered by the Japanese in the War Relocation Camps. Diary of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank (New York: Bantam, 1993) and other books give historical details to the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust. If you live near Washington, D.C. or are planning a trip, visit the Holocaust Museum.
Efforts are being made to reform the criminal justice system. One such endeavor is the Innocence Project, which is an organization dedicated to using DNA evidence to help the wrongfully accused free themselves from prison. Two hundred and forty nine people have been cleared of false charges since its beginnings in 1992.
Church of the Larger Fellowship (CLF)
See what CLF has to offer, like KidTalk and jewelry. There might be CLF members in your congregation. Ask around.