Yesterday’s Gospel reading in church (Matthew chapter 18 verses 15 – 20) was all about forgiveness and reconciliation, clearly it is something that has been needed by human beings for many centuries and in all cultures. A few years ago at the Greenbelt Festival I saw an Exhibition of the work of the Forgiveness Project and it made a deep impression on me. It was started in 2004 by a journalist called Maria Contacuzino, the aim of the project is to help people to overcome their own unresolved grievances which otherwise gnaw away inside us and become the poison of hatred. The project offers the world inspiration when we hear the testimonies of people who have found powerful alternatives to hate, dehumanisation, cycles of conflict, violence and injustice. Here is the link to their website https://www.theforgivenessproject.com/
The more we hear these stories , the more we understand that we can transform and change our own family life, our neighbourhoods, our societies and the more we can build a better climate of tolerance, hope and understanding.
I was particularly struck by reading the testimony of Idan Barir from Tel Aviv, Israel, who served in the Israeli artillery corps for many years, including during the Second Intifada. After witnessing immoral Israeli military operations, Barir refused to perform further military service and was jailed for this refusal in 2009. You can read his full story by following this link here https://www.theforgivenessproject.com/stories/idan-barir/
The Forgiveness Project has Education Resources for young people aged 14+ to explore forgiveness and related concepts through a range of activities.
Philosophy for Children are a series of four resources to explore forgiveness through questioning, dialogue and reflection as a P4C enquiry or within other lessons.
Stories of Forgiveness are a series of nine lessons exploring Forgiveness and Justice, Why do people forgive? and Forgiving the Unforgivable.