Consider Forgiveness: Sin, Sinner and Apology

Bhai Mohinder Singh

Bhai Mohinder Singh

In observance of World Interfaith Harmony Week, we share these videos from our Consider Forgiveness video series featuring religious leaders and scholars speaking about forgiveness.

The sin and sinner
It is easy to fall into the habit of condemning those who transgress. In this video, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Bhai Mohinder Singh, and Miroslav Volf encourage us to separate the sin from the sinner. “You hit the sin. You don’t hit the sinner," says Bhai Mohinder Singh. "The sinner is weak, like you." After all, we’ve all made mistakes, hurt others, transgressed.

Consider Forgiveness - The sin and the sinner

Practice forgiveness without losing respect, without losing compassion, then there is much chance to transform that person’s attitude toward you. –-His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Is an apology necessary? 
“If forgiveness is an expression of love," says Anantanand Rambachan. "I would want to say that forgiveness does not depend upon the apology of the other.” In this video, Sheikh Muhammed Nur Abdullah, Miroslav Volf, Rabbi Richard Marker, Johann Vento, Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jan Chozen Bays, Sheikh Mohammed Mohammed Ali, Pal Ahluwalia, Bishop Gali Bali, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Rabbi Meir Sendor, Therese Andrevon Gottstein, and Swami Atmapriyananda also reflect on this question.

Consider Forgiveness - Is an apology necessary?

When you’re talking about a situation of ongoing victimization … it’s not wise to forgive soon and before justice or any possibility of restitution or establishment of safety. —Johann Vento

Forgiveness is related to hope
Finally, in a popular video from this series, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offers this lyrical and thought-provoking explanation of forgiveness. 

Forgiveness is that radically unpredictable thing, that human capacity to do the unexpected, to respond in a way that could not have been predicted…

Because of forgiveness, we are not condemned endlessly to replay the conflicts of the past and that is why forgiveness is logically and psychologically related to hope. —Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks - Consider Forgiveness

Watch more videos in this series here