The first week in February is World Interfaith Harmony Week. With the prevalence of violence, suffering, inequities, misunderstanding, fear, and bigotry around the world, forgiveness is one, among many practices, that can help us heal. In honor of World Interfaith Harmony Week, we share several videos from our Consider Forgiveness series featuring religious leaders and scholars speaking about forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is a tough thing…” says theologian Miroslav Volf, in one of our most popular videos in the series. "Forgiveness comes sometimes in droplets, in bits and pieces. We need to think of [forgiveness] as a practice, as living into something..."
Who is forgiveness for anyway?
Forgiveness is often misunderstood as a form of absolution for the transgressor. In fact, forgiveness is not forgetting. It is not accepting or justifying the offense. It is not pardoning, excusing, condoning, or even reconciling. So who, then, is it for? Watch as Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, Therese Andrevon Gottstein, Sheikh Muhammed Nur Abdullah, Rabbi Richard Marker, Bishop Gali Bali, Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Miroslav Volf, and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks contemplate this question.
When I forgive someone, it benefits me first…because by forgiving I am erasing that pain from my mind, my heart. —Sheikh Muhammed Nur Abdullah
Do you have a practice for forgiveness?
“As human beings, we’re imperfect. I have shortcomings, you have shortcomings.…” notes Sheikh Muhammed Nur Abdullah who shares one of his practices. “I pray for [forgiveness]…every morning and evening. 'Oh God Almighty, forgive me, the sins that I know, the ones that I don’t know, the ones I did intentionally, the ones I did without intention… '“ In this video, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Miroslav Volf, Therese Andrevon Gottstein, Johann Vento, Bhai Mohinder Singh, Anantanand Rambachan, Swami Atmapriyananda, Jan Chozen Bays, Sheikh Muhammed Nur Abdullah, and Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp also share ways to practice forgiveness from each of their religious traditions.
Watch other videos in this series here.