The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness and Justice

Dr Everett (“Ev”) Worthington is a professor of psychology who has published over 20 books on forgiveness, marriage, and family topics. But his experience with forgiveness comes not just from study and research. He’s had some first-hand experience with forgiveness.

On a New Year’s Eve about ten years ago someone broke into his mother’s house. An attempted theft turned into a brutal murder when his mother fought back. A suspect was captured who volunteered details no one could have known who wasn’t at the scene. But because of “some issues with the evidence,” a jury wouldn’t indict.

We tend to talk about justice far more often in every community that's been in turmoil and we rarely talk about forgiveness and mercy. - Robert Enright

Within six months of her murder Ev and his two siblings forgave the person who killed their mother. He admits that he had a lot of professional preparation. .He had studied forgiveness scientifically and therapeutically for years before the incident. But ultimately he felt that they were able to forgive because by doing so they were honoring the values their mother had tried to instill in them.

He tries to teach his students today that forgiveness is not something that comes after justice has been accomplished. Indeed, he never got justice. But he firmly believes that forgiveness and justice can work hand in hand.