Open Search
Open Navigation

The Imperative of Forgiveness and the Deployment of "Heroic" Character Strengths

Alliant International University
Published 04/09/2014
2 minutes read
The content of this page is only for informational purposes and is not intended, expressly or by implication, as a guarantee of employment or salary, which vary based on many factors including but not limited to education, credentials, and experience. Alliant International University explicitly makes no representations or guarantees about the accuracy of the information provided by any prospective employer or any other website. Salary information available on the internet may not reflect the typical experience of Alliant graduates. Alliant does not guarantee that any graduate will be placed with a particular employer or in any specific employment position.

Consider atrocities that have occurred in Rwanda, Israel, Northern Ireland, and Palestine. Think about the people on both sides of the experience—living victims and perpetrators. Now, reflect on the following questions:

  • What does it take to truly forgive someone after he or she has committed a terrible wrong?
  • Is it possible to forgive an entire group of people (e.g., a race, a country, those who practice a particular religion)? Is it easier to forgive an individual perpetrator or a group of perpetrators?
  • On the other hand, what does it take to ask for forgiveness? For a perpetrator who has been forgiven, is it of greater benefit if he or she first acknowledged the full extent of the wrongdoing and asked for forgiveness?

The science of positive psychology, which encapsulates the upsurge in scientific findings on forgiveness, informs us of the physical and psychological benefits of forgiving others. However, there are many dynamics yet to be thoroughly examined by positive psychology. In their review of the documentary film Beyond Right and Wrong: Stories of Justice and ForgivenessFrank Farley and  Mona Sarshar examine the challenges of reconciliation and some of the benefits for those who display this character strength in action. They point out that despite an increase in research, there remain few studies on the benefits to perpetrators who have been forgiven. In addition, they emphasize the importance of altruism, generosity, and other "heroic" character strengths to counteract such horrors.

Indeed, if we all deployed our character strengths in ways to benefit others, we would not be having this conversation. What thoughts, opinions, and comments does this idea elicit in you?

 

Read the Review

From Giving to Forgiving—A Bridge Too Far?
By Frank Farley and Mona Sarshar
PsycCRITIQUES, 2014 Vol 59(8)

 

You might also like

Back to Blog
Learn More
team brainstorming around table

Diversity vs Inclusion in the Workplace: What’s the Difference?

Many companies boast about their workplace diversity. But just because a workforce is diverse, doesn’t mean that the workplace...
Learn More
group of students looking at monitor

When to Apply to College

When Are You Supposed to Apply to College? College brings an incredible range of life experiences. Classrooms and lecture halls...
Learn More
School Counselor and Student look at tablet

7 Tips on How to Choose a Major

Did you know that over 60%1 of college graduates would go back and change their majors if they could? Changing majors can be very...
Anchor
pass led us here

Start on your path to impact today.