Monday July 7, we will observe Global Forgiveness Day. On this day we are asked to forgive (and be forgiven), to put aside and move beyond old hurts and grievances, and begin anew. Forgiveness, according Webster’s Dictionary, is defined as having the ability to excuse or pardon, as well as giving up all claims you may have of an offense or debt. How is that humanly possible? Forgiving someone is not easy, in fact, forgiving someone who has truly done you or your family harm, is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, and yet, that is exactly what God has asked us to do.
Global Forgiveness Day was created in 1994 by the Christian Embassy of Christ’s Ambassadors (CECA), a Christian philanthropic organization that encourages, and sponsors events and projects to help address and aide in the needs of local communities, on both a national and international level. This quiet movement began with a single banner, proclaiming National Forgiveness Day in downtown Victoria, British Columbia. Over time, more and more people began to feel their personal need to forgive, as well as be forgiven. Before long, this once quiet movement began to draw national media attention, eventually resulting in the name change from National Forgiveness Day, to Global Forgiveness Day. Their new name began to reflect their new direction by taking the word – forgiveness – and spreading the message beyond national borders.
Studies have shown that people who have learned how to forgive appeared to be less angry, felt less hurt, and experienced a reduction in both mental and physical stress; they also grew more compassionate, self-confident, and optimistic.
Bishop Tutu and his daughter Mpho, authors of, The Book of Forgiving, have a plan to help you achieve the level of forgiveness with their 30 day challenge, called the Tutu Global Forgiveness Challenge. This challenge is designed to help you discover how you can bring more love and peace into your life through the act of forgiving. The challenge starts whenever you would like to begin, and also provides a link to join their online forgiveness community if you would like.
On this globally celebrated day of forgiveness, let us all remember to “humbly accept our imperfections and learn to forgive,” one day at a time.