Reviewed Books & Films

« Don't Worry, Be Happy, Try These Pills | Main | Two Views of Milgram’s “Notorious” Research »

Thursday, March 27, 2014

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

APA

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

Comments

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Note: We are experiencing issues with legitimate comments sometimes being marked as spam by the system. If you post a comment and are wondering why it isn't showing up right away, please know we are checking the spam filter frequently and will publish your comment as needed.

Thanks for your comment, and for your patience as we work on this issue.




Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

Related Links

Bookmark and Share

Send Feedback

rss Subscribe to the Blog

rss Subscribe via FeedBurner

Subscribe to Blog Updates via Email Here…