Magazine article Psychology Today

The Luxury of Forgiveness

Magazine article Psychology Today

The Luxury of Forgiveness

Article excerpt

WE TEND TO think of forgiveness in individual terms: Someone lies to you and apologizes, and you accept it rather than striking back. On the scale of communities or nations, however, the shared value of forgiveness can lead to reconciliation in the wake of conflict. A study in the journal Cross-Cultural Research, based on the input of nearly 42,000 participants from 30 countries, gives us a better sense of how people prioritize forgiveness across the world.

On a list of 18 values, forgiveness ranked eighth overall, higher than virtues such as ambition and obedience but below honesty, responsibility, and love. But the ranking varied from country to country. The researchers propose that feelings of safety and economic stability could have an influence. The U.S. sample rated forgiveness more highly than did most other countries, landing in the top four worldwide. …

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