August 4, 2019

There are several days of the year and a few Seasons which are dedicated to forgiveness.  Since the Multi-faith Calendar lists the First Sunday of August as International Forgiveness Day, we thought we would offer a few reflections.  If there was ever a time when our World needed to pursue reconciliation and peace, this is the time.  The following steps are offered as a reflection on the dynamics of forgiveness. 

The Faith Traditions of Humankind offer powerful insights as to how we might practice forgiveness in our lives.  The Arts and Literature of the World often celebrate and explore the possible dynamics of forgiveness in every dimension of life. We offer these reflections in a spirit of pursuing peace and understanding in a time of division and conflict. 

Please share with us your own insights and experiences.

© mavoimages



  1. Remember the actual situation of hurt or conflict as best you can. Instinct and gut feelings are as important as “facts.” Identify your feelings realizing that in the future you may remember more and feel more. Identify a counselor, friend, or confidant with whom you can share your story with confidentiality, trust, and support.
  2. Claim your dignity, self-respect and voice. Realize your feelings might change and shift as you confront the situation of your concern.
  3. Honesty will help you realize if what happened to you was abusive. It is important to realize that your current distress is the result of what happened to you. The process of forgiveness is important if we would live life compassionately. Abuse is a matter of recovery for which forgiveness might not be appropriate or possible at this time. People often confuse recovery from abuse with the dynamics of forgiveness. 
  4. Enter into your upset and distress. Embrace your feelings as your own. Honor how you feel without apology or explanation. Identify other feelings you might have. Inquire of yourself what story your feelings tell.
  5. Realize you are not your hurt. What was done to you does not define you. You are your own person. Do not let the failures and hurts of others determine what and who you are. Let painful memories remind you of your humanity. Empathize with the person who hurt you if possible. Quest to be defined by your heart, mind, and soul.
  6. Do not seek revenge. Do not give power to the hurts and failures of another. As you claim dignity for yourself, claim dignity for the other, doing what is appropriate in the circumstance. Do not retaliate but bring consequences to bear in an effort to help the other flourish as a responsible human being.
  7. Forgiveness never invites you to be a victim. Do not be neutral in the face of abuse or abusive in the face of failure. Reconcile when it is appropriate, if ever. Normalize if it causes no harm to self or others. Remember the desire to forgive is the first and most crucial step in forgiveness.
  8. Forgiveness is liberation from the harm done. We seek to learn how to be humane when we realize we have hurt. We seek to realize our dignity and self-worth when we realize we have been hurt.
  9. Having been healed and / or forgiven, we seek to practice forgiveness in all the affairs of our lives with courage, honesty, self-awareness, and generosity.
  10. Forgive as you desire to be forgiven.

The Interfaith Peace Project