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Explore the Healing Power of Forgiveness

forgiveness on Resources - We live in a tumultuous time when the evidence of the fruits of revenge are all about us. From the fall out of 9/11 to the struggles in Syria and around the world, we see how violence begets violence. There are even TV dramas and reality shows on revenge. In the midst of this, the Oates seminar on the healing power of forgiveness seems like a perfect discipline.

How do we choose to forgive? How do we forgive? What are the effects of holding a grudge or seeking revenge? Can we find a way to balance our need for security with the potential to grant forgiveness? Can we balance our need for justice with the redemptive healing potential of forgiveness ?

These and other critical questions will be explored as participants read and discuss the articles and presentations that are part of this class. These articles help us to first identify the part of us that is hurt when violence is done. Whether it is a arson's fire or a driver's negligence, when we are hurt, our first reaction is naturally to hurt back. And yet that reaction can create a cycle of violence that has left some areas of the world in a centuries old struggle of violence and counter violence.

The goal of this seminar is to help participants to be intentional in their ministry with regards to forgiveness. One author noted the following words by a victim of childhood sexual abuse:

I have prayed and prayed – for years on end.

I know I should forgive the abuse.

I know all about “forgive those who hurt you.”

I know in the very depths of my spirit.

I want to forgive him, but I honestly don’t know how.

It is tormenting me.

The last sentence explains why we work on forgiveness. The very inability to face forgiveness can weigh like a lodestone on our souls, not because we should not be angry, but because the anger, if not properly handled, can fester into destructive actions. Chaplains, pastors, and social workers will find opportunities for sharing with one another, and to explore some concrete answers.

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