The Power of Forgiveness

About the Power of Forgiveness

From the Producers of BONHOEFFER

Over the last 20 years the topic of forgiveness has come into its own as an area of academic study. Researchers are now examining the psychological and physical effects of forgiveness on individuals and within relationships under an amazingly wide variety of conditions, ranging from petty insults to sexual assault. Clinicians have developed interventions that help guide people through a structured process that allows them to forgive transgressions and get on with their lives.

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The POWER of FORGIVENESS explores this important work and translates it into a popular, accessible documentary film for public television. The broadcast is only one part of a national outreach effort that includes a community conversation campaign, this website, a national screening tour and a companion book. The focus is on the emergent understanding of contemporary clinical and academic research that shows forgiveness is validated as having real potential for personal and spiritual transformation. At the same time the film points to the centrality of forgiveness as a virtue in many of the world’s great religions and the struggle that people of all faiths have in honoring it.

The film combines character-driven stories of dramatic transgressions with those of more commonplace annoyances, examining the role that forgiveness can play in alleviating the resulting anger and grief and the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that come with forgiveness. These stories assure us that there is hope if we are open to seeking it and accepting it.

The film includes stories and interviews with people from many faith traditions: Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on forgiveness in the Jewish faith; Azim Khamisa on forgiveness and Islam; Rev. James Forbes, pastor emeritus of Riverside Church in New York, on forgiveness from a Christian perspective. And best-selling author Thomas Moore (Care of the Soul) speaks on forgiveness from a spiritual dimension.

There are stories on forgiveness research, The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon, building a Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero and the Amish teaching on forgiveness. And we hear from doctors, psychologists and psychotherapists who present the measurable benefits of forgiveness and the hidden costs of un-forgiveness.

Filming locations include New York, Pennsylvania, California, Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as France, Lebanon and Northern Ireland. Archival footage comes from Germany, Israel and Vietnam.

The film is a presentation of South Carolina ETV. Major funding for The POWER of FORGIVENESS was provided by Fetzer Institute as part of its Campaign for Love and Forgiveness and by The John Templeton Foundation, Funding Science and Investing in the Big Questions.