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June 26: National forgiveness day

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Recognized as a time to forgive and to be forgiven, National Forgiveness Day, June 26, was established by the Committee for Education and Cultural Action (CECA) in 1998. Various organizations in a several countries sponsor “Forgiveness Day,” but the name has been changed from "National" to “International” or "Global,” with dates that vary, with most occurring during the summer from June to October. No matter which National Forgiveness Day you celebrate, the universal ideals of pardoning and reconciliation are worthy of celebration.

Forgiveness is a vitally important concept in Christianity, and the ideal is also seen in the Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. In Christianity, however, forgiveness is not a one-time act on a one-way street, but the virtue is a two-way street. Not only are believers asked to forgive others, but they also ask others to forgive them for any offenses or violations, real or perceived.

This virtue is eloquently expressed in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. . . .” The subject is connected to some of the last words that Jesus Christ spoke before his death on the cross “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Paul also exhorts believers to “be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.”

Forgiveness begins with acknowledging that some kind of error or offense has occurred. Once the mistake has been acknowledged, many times what follows is a verbal expression of what are said to be the six most difficult words to say in the English language: “I’m sorry—I made a mistake.”

When it comes to "forgiving and being forgiven," individuals should not have to wait until the 26th of June. Ideally, each day should be Forgiveness Day.

The accompanying video discusses Nelson Mandela and the science of forgiveness.

Check out the following are Examiner.com articles on the subject of forgiveness and related topics:

This article relates forgiveness to Yom Kippur: The Day of Atonement

Learn about the benefits of forgiveness.

National forgiveness day: To forgive and be forgiven

Check out “Forgive? What do you mean?”

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