The Forgiveness Project

Based in the UK, The Forgiveness Project explores forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution through real-life human experience.  Its mission is to open up a dialogue about forgiveness and promote understanding through awareness, education and inspiration. Its acclaimed exhibition, The F Word, presents testimonials from those directly affected by violence who have chosen to forgive rather than to continue the cycle of violence.  These testimonials, which can also be viewed online, demonstrate that forgiveness means many different things to different people. Many of these people also share their stories in person, whether in prisons, schools, faith communities, or with any other group of people who want to explore the nature of forgiveness in their own lives or in a wider political context.

The stories contained in The F Word demonstrate that the choice to forgive is deeply personal, often private and far from the soft option many take it to be. In fact, it is difficult, costly and painful, but potentially transformative.

The Forgiveness Project believes that forgiveness must be a choice, because to expect someone to forgive can victimize them all over again.  Forgiveness is also a journey, rather than a destination: it is rarely a one-time, fixed event or a single magnanimous gesture in response to an isolated offense. It is part of a series of human engagements in healing broken relationships.

You can forgive small acts or big acts; acts against an individual , a group,  or a god.  Some acts, like adultery or betrayal, may or may not be crimes.

Forgiveness is often considered the mental, and/or spiritual process of relinquishing resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, or ceasing to demand punishment.  It is separate from justice (meted out by the state through the courts or some other delegated authority).  But forgiveness does not preclude justice.

Many stories in The F Word exhibition show that forgiveness can be a useful life skill which can liberate a person who has been hurt, releasing them from the grip of the perpetrator.  It is connected with acceptance and moving on.  Some have said forgiveness is ‘giving up all hope of a better past.’  In this sense forgiveness is also an act of self-healing, rather than an act of kindness towards someone who has hurt you.

In some contexts, forgiveness may be granted without any expectation of compensation, and without any response from the perpetrator (for example, you can forgive a person who shows no remorse, or a person who is dead).  In other contexts, it may be necessary for the perpetrator to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology and/or reparation in order for the wronged person to believe they are able to forgive.

Finally, the Forgiveness Project believes that forgiveness does not condone or excuse the action. It is a gift from one individual to another.  It is therefore debatable whether institutions, governments or nameless officials can actually be forgiven.  Some say that with extreme offenses while you may forgive a person for what he or s

In April, 2005, Peaceful Tomorrows member Andrew Rice organized the U.S. premiere of The F Word in Oklahoma City during the 10th commemoration of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. He joined Father Michael Lapsley (Director of the Institute for Healing of Memories) and Peaceful Tomorrows members Andrea LeBlanc, Loretta Filipov, David Potorti, Amy Rice and Terry Rockefeller along with Michael Berg (father of Nick), Wess Young (a survivor of the 1921 Tulsa race riot), Bud Welch (father of OKC bombing victim Julie Welch), Frank Silovsky (who lost his wife as a result of the bombing) and Susan Urbach, a survivor, in a series of speaking events. Many participated in a discussion which was videotaped and released as the Peaceful Tomorrows’ “Beyond Retribution” DVD.

 

Web site: http://theforgivenessproject.com/

Contact: info@theforgivenessproject.com

Mailing address: The Forgiveness Project,

38 Buckingham Palace Road,

London SW1W 0RE

England, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7821 0035

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September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows is a project of Tides Center.

 
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