Forgiveness is increasingly being viewed as a self-help and therapeutic technique as well as a theological and spiritual concept, according to a recent Associated Press report (Dec. 20).
Mounting research on the psychological and physical benefits of forgiveness, as well as new teachings on its role in spirituality is making the 1990s the decade of forgiving. Frederick DiBlasio of the University of Maryland School of Social Work says the concept of forgiveness is gaining momentum in American society in a more practical way than in previous decades.
“Part of the reason is simply that as the population gets older, many baby boomers facing mortality are starting to measure their lives by their human relationships rather than their stock portfolios,” writes David Briggs.
Forgiveness is found to help fight stress and depression and is now seen as an important therapeutic goal in psychological journals, according to Robert Enright of the University of Wisconsin. The appeal of asking for forgiveness is equally evident in the religious world. Religious leaders and scholars such as Enright have recently inaugurated the first International Forgiveness Institute.
The Promise Keepers movement-led gathering in Washington brought a million evangelical men to prostrate themselves to ask forgiveness of their wives and children. As a preparation for the new millennium, the pope and other Christian leaders have sought forgiveness from various groups, such as those of other faiths, that their churches may have persecuted.