This discussion started on Facebook and I moved it here to be able to get in more depth, share more insights and articles, etc. It started with a simple quote:
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi.
I am curious to discuss what role forgiveness plays in people's and in communities' life.
My hunch is that this role will be quite different on personal and on community level, as on community level, forgiveness can be a form of politics and is often prone to manipulation if not potentially a form of blackmail. For more about this line of thinking, read here: http://www.stonybrook.edu/sociol/faculty/Levy/Levy-Sznaider%20Forgiveness%20Chapter.pdf
I recognize the wonderful liberating power that forgiveness has in individual person's life. What I dislike is the pedestal that forgiveness is often put at. As if those that do not forgive were somehow less worthy, less wise, less strong. It is truly admirable if someone is able to forgive. But I would think long and hard before I would dismiss those who are not able or willing. Human situations and reasons are numerous and also avenues of moving on and of conciliation are various.
For conciliation of people and communities, I hazard to say that forgiveness is neither necessary, nor sufficient. I think we should separate the psychological from the social aspect of forgiveness, to be clear about what we're talking about exactly. On a community level, it can
play a positive role also, but it can also be detrimental. Depends on motivation, whether it stems from below or is initiated by a few people with own agendas, depends also on what is there to forgive. Maybe some things simply should not be forgiven?
Anyhow, this is just to kick things off, hopefully people will chime in. I'm interested in personal stories of forgiveness in your life, also stories of communities and nations in post-conflict situations...anything and everything that has to do with forgiveness.