The Power of Forgiveness; Spiritual Idea May Also Apply Using Secular Approaches

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 16, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Power of Forgiveness; Spiritual Idea May Also Apply Using Secular Approaches


Byline: Ann Geracimos, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Forgiveness has many faces and can take many forms. Ceremonial rituals of the Roman Catholic Church involve a penitent in the priest's confessional being forgiven for sins he committed.

More contemporary rituals make forgiveness an academic pursuit. Washington psychiatrist Dr. Carlotta Miles views forgiveness as an individual process best achieved over time in a therapeutic setting.

Many religions have forgiveness at the very heart of their belief system, while expressing its value in different ways. For Catholics, God does the forgiving with the priest as intermediary, says Father Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center that, in the past, has sponsored a specially funded Forgiveness Project relating to international, rather than interpersonal, conflicts.

"You are supposed to confess your sins and ask for forgiveness and do penance and try to make reparations for the evil you have done," he explains. "I think that model works for society, also. To ask the victim of a rape to simply forgive her rapist, or ask a family to forgive the person who killed someone in their family - if they can do this, God bless them. They are better people than I am. It takes a special grace from God to be able to do that. For society at large, we need structures that help us get to that point."

People in olden times had to confess to the community-at-large, and penance could be wearing sackcloth and ashes, he adds.

"Unburdening oneself from a hurt experience is a kind of liberation," he says, expressing a view common among nearly all authorities on forgiveness modes. "If you can't forgive, the anger stays with you, and you continue to allow that person to have power over you."

The Catholic confessional ritual, he says, "calls the sinner to conversion because you confess, and you are sorry, but then you promise not to do it again. It is not a get-out-of-jail-free card." Likewise, he says, "we have to be very careful when we go to someone and say, 'You have to forgive the person who hurt you.' We don't want to victimize the victim."

Palo Alto, Calif., psychologist Fred Luskin, author of "Forgive for Good" and "Forgive for Love," acknowledges that scientific research shows how learning to forgive - like many other positive emotions - can make a person healthier by having a favorable impact on the cardiovascular system.

"But no research has been done yet on what it is to be forgiven because it is harder to research," he notes. "The one doing the forgiving has the latitude.

"Work we and a few other scientists have done," he continues in a telephone interview, "has shown through secular methodology that you can teach something that had been confined to the religious universe. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Power of Forgiveness; Spiritual Idea May Also Apply Using Secular Approaches
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.