Is forgiveness good for you?

There are many reasons why people might find it difficult to forgive someone who has deeply hurt them. Yet, psychologists tell us that individuals feel better when they have forgiven someone. Offering forgiveness is not easy. Sometimes people can hurt us so deeply that it is impossible to forgive them.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa offered people the chance to hear the truth about apartheid atrocities, and to seek a place of reconciliation and perhaps even forgiveness. The process of forgiveness still continues a decade or more on.

The Easter story engages with many of the issues and themes surrounding forgiveness: love, punishment, justice and community. It attempts to find a way that not only models forgiveness in different ways and for different situations, but also makes a statement about the need for individuals and communities to experience forgiveness and reconciliation. In his last moments on earth, Jesus asked for forgiveness on behalf of other people.

Forgiveness has the power to transform people, and change the world — but it can be one of the most difficult things asked of anyone.