The essay is a reaction and a reflection that contains three essential learning concepts from the following texts, The Energy of Forgiveness, by Mark Umbreit (2015) and No Future without Forgiveness, by Desmond Tutu (1999).
Tutus No Future without Forgiveness explains the significant role that the archbishop played in South Africas Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The book narrates the effects of Apartheid on South Africans. Segregation hindered the natives from attending same schools and hospitals with the white people, political leaders such as Nelson Mandela were imprisoned due to their efforts in emancipating the nation from the colonial rule. The local authorities mistreated by the natives and denied them their rights. Tutu views Apartheid in a theological and Christian view to bring harmony and peace between white people and South Africans. Tutu preaches of peace, forgiveness, and humanity.
One of the key learnings from Tutus text is unity. South Africa was a segregated nation, and the whites enjoyed all the fruits. However, after the release of Nelson Mandela, the country was granted the right to conduct their democratic right of voting their chosen leaders, the country became united. Voting was a new concept for the country and people came out in numbers to participate in the process. People of all races were standing in the same queues for the first time in their lives. Professional, domestic workers, and all other types of people joined together into one line and casted their votes in the polling booth (Tutu, 1993, p. 4). The long hours of queuing helped South Africans to interact and come together as one. The voting day proved to the people that they were human beings, not Indian, black, or white, and they had the same aspirations, anxieties, and concerns. Tutu preaches on the importance of working together. He narrates the story of a white and a black man escaping from a gang manacled together. The two fall in a ditch, however, when one climbs almost out of the ditch, fails to make it because he is bound to his mate (Tutu, 1999). Tutu uses this illustration to tell South Africans that the only way they can survive through their circumstances is by working together.
Tutu emphasizes the need for forgiveness. Ubuntu is the cultural formation of many African cultures and underscores the need for people to depend on each other. Tutu noticed that South Africans might seek vengeance for their brothers who suffered under the hands of Apartheid. He argues that forgiveness is the best form of self-interest and that revenge is corrosive to the communal harmony (Tutu, 1999). Another critical aspect of learning from the text is the need for restorative justice. The Apartheid regime punished and imprisoned offenders. Tutu significantly criticized the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for failing to uphold restorative justice. Restorative justice brings healing of breeches, restoration of broken relationships, and redressing of imbalances. From the book, one can conclude that individuals should learn to forgive and coexist with each other. Additionally, a country should create a system that restores offenders back to the society to promote nation building and uniting of individuals with their loved ones.
Mark Umbreit (2015) in his book The Energy of Forgiveness highlights how it is difficult for people to forgive each other even their close relatives. The author found that forgiveness is of significance to both the health and soul of an individual. The author illustrates the power of forgiveness in various settings such as family, community, victims of crime, schools, and workplaces. One key lesson to learn from the reading in a conflict related situation is to practice aikido. Aikido helps an individual to embrace conflict in as a prime motivator for change in our lives (Umbreit, Blevins, & Lewis, 2015). Aikido is a Japanese martial art that aids an individual to make an attack harmless without harming the offender. Aikido paves room for formulating a collaborative and transformative resolution of the conflict. Aikido protects our ego from being carried away by the toxic energy of the dispute. Another valuable lesson from the book is the adoption of mindfulness as a way of life. Forgiveness can be propagated when one is openhearted and possesses a nonjudgmental awareness perspective of life. Mindfulness encourages compassion, humbleness, and creating a connection with others. Mindfulness requires the mind and the soul to work simultaneously towards focusing on the present moment through an increased sense of peace and awareness (Umbreit et al., 2015). Centering oneself is the first step of enabling an individual to respond positively during a conflict. Deep compassionate listening and being authentic is the third crucial aspect that one can learn from the book. Authentic is being true to oneself, and the genuine human connection is fundamental to changing the lives of individuals experiencing conflicts and traumatic events. Deep compassionate listening enables an individual to listen from the heart and allow the energy of the story to flow. A combination of the two creates a powerful energy of forgiveness.
The implications of forgiveness to an individual level are that one will be able to forgive himself and the surrounding people. The individual can also channel the trait to the workplace and learn to forgive colleagues without resulting in conflict. Global leaders can adopt forgiveness as a leadership skill and use their power to preach peace, especially in war-torn countries. Countries can disseminate educational materials regarding the importance of forgiveness to the citizens as a strategy to foster the formation of a global community that can coexist peacefully.
Tutu, D. (1999). No future without forgiveness. Vauxhall Bridge Road, London; Random House.
Umbreit, M., Blevins, J., & Lewis, T. (2015). The energy of forgiveness: Lessons from those in restorative dialogue. Eugene, OR; Cascade Books.
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