Sunday, August 6th marks #InternationalForgivenessDay which is now my favorite day! As your go-to forgiveness expert, I wanted to share my thoughts with you about this day and what it means.
Why there is conflict in the world…
All major religions agree, forgiveness is a good idea. However, most world conflict is a result of religion. Almost every major crusade and war in history has been because of a difference of ideals between one group one group of people and another.
Some religions conjure up issues of culture clashes that seem angry, foreign, and fanatical. How can we ever be good enough for God when we are not even good enough for each other? We are being told that how we pray, worship, and see God is wrong only because it doesn’t look the same way as others pray, worship, and see God. Aren’t we missing the point? It can get overwhelming and confusing.
Why international forgiveness is important…
As citizens of a global community, it is crucial that we learn to accept others’ differences. We do not have to believe what others believe, we do not have to adopt a new religion or new way of thinking, but instead, we must all learn that people are different from us and that is okay.
In fact, it is better than ok. Our differences make this world a better place. With different cultures, customs and upbringings, we can come up with more diverse ideas, solutions to problems and ways of looking at the world.
With the accessibility of the internet, the world increasingly feels like it gets smaller and larger at the same time. We have access to people halfway across the world in real time via social media networks. We can learn from others on Youtube. We can live stream lectures and talks that we would otherwise never be able to hear. Podcasts allow us to hear real stories from real people as we go about our day, driving to the grocery store or making dinner.
While there is so much to be gained from learning from one another as global citizens, there are many of us who are fearful of those same differences. For example, here is a lot of harbored resentment and even hatred towards the muslim community because of 9/11. International Forgiveness day reminds us that we can still forgive those who have caused us harm. This does not mean we forget. This does not mean we condone what had happened. We cannot villainize an entire religion based on the actions of a few.
On International Forgiveness Day, I challenge you to reflect on the people who you surround yourself with, and see how much they are like you. Do you know anyone from another country, who worships differently than you? Who speaks another language? If you don’t, make a point to meet one person new. Ask them, and listen, to their beliefs, their upbringing, their culture and customs. It is remarkable how much you can learn from others.