Forgiveness Day is celebrated on 26 June. This day is not to be confused with Global Forgiveness day which is observed on July 7 and is actually an off-shoot of Forgiveness Day. The day was incepted in 1994 by The Christian Embassy of Christ’s Ambassadors (CECA). It was established in line with Christianity’s teachings around forgiveness – that we should always forgive all who trespass against us. But even in the secular world, forgiveness means different things to different people and today is the day to shed old grievances or grudges and forgive those who have wronged us.
History of Forgiveness Day
The practice of forgiveness can be traced back thousands of years with mention being made in numerous religious texts. It may seem like a difficult task, but it is merely letting go of anger, hurt, or a desire for vengeance.
From the Bible to the Quran, each religion has specific stories and teachings that relate to the act of forgiveness and the impact it can have on our lives and others. In the Bible, Christ forgives from the cross. Some of the earliest depictions of forgiveness arise from Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish theologies and philosophies. More recently much research has been done on forgiveness as it relates to us physically and psychologically – specifically in the fields of psychology, sociology, and medicine.
Forgiveness has been linked to many mental health benefits including reduced stress, anger, depression, and state anxiety. Positive relational health – including improved social support and marital quality – comes with forgiveness. It also leads to an array of physical health benefits including lowered blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health. Dr. Frederic Luskin, Director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project, began his research in the field of forgiveness. His results showed that forgiveness training helped people feel significantly less hurt. He noted that they could learn techniques for forgiving specific and more general resentment and forgive the particular person who had caused them pain. His follow-up study in 2003 reported that the mental benefits of forgiveness training were still present six months after training.
Forgiveness Day timeline
The earliest recorded accounts of person-to-person forgiveness are found in the Old Testament of the Hebrew Bible.
Robert D. Enright Ph.D. creates the first scientifically proven forgiveness program in the country.
When released from a South African prison, Nelson Mandela tells a rally, “We especially need to forgive each other, because when you intend to forgive, you heal part of the pain, but when you forgive you heal completely”.
Robert D. Enright creates The International Forgiveness Institute which develops forgiveness education curricula for children in war-torn, impoverished and oppressed areas of the globe.
Dr. Enright receives the Hilldale Award, UW-Madison’s highest award for “excellence in teaching, research, and service.”
Forgiveness Day FAQs
What is the true meaning of forgiveness?
It is defined as a conscious and deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance, regardless of whether they deserve your forgiveness.
What is the importance of forgiveness?
Forgiveness can bring peace and lead to feelings of understanding, empathy, and compassion for the one who hurt you.
What are the five stages of forgiveness?
You should reflect on the situation and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. If that is impossible, choose to release negative feelings for your own sake. You should decide to learn from the experience and then let go. Finally, you should decide where you want to go from here.
How to Observe Forgiveness Day
Extend yourself compassion, show yourself some love and forgive yourself. This may be the most difficult kind of forgiveness.
Call, talk to, or email someone who may have wronged you. Forgive them and begin to heal.
Watch a movie or read a book about forgiveness
Remind yourself how powerful forgiveness is and the positivity it can bring to your life. The more you learn, the easier you will find it to forgive people.
5 Facts About Forgiveness
Forgiveness can make you happier and healthier
Research shows that holding onto grudges results in chronic stress which can make you more vulnerable to disease.
Forgiveness strengthens relationships
Research shows that forgiveness enables couples to work together more cooperatively whereas couples who don’t tend to forgive do not work together as well.
Forgiveness does not mean you condone
Forgiveness does not condone actions — it means you have let go.
An apology isn't necessary
Don’t expect an apology but rather forgive that person, so you can move forward.
You need to let go of anger
You will need to work through negative emotions before being able to fully forgive.
Why Forgiveness Day is Important
It is an empowering day
It is a day when you take full control and responsibility for your well-being even when faced with disappointing deeds. Forgiveness sets you free to go forward again in life.
It shows that love wins
By continuing to work for good and be a loving person, you send the message that love is stronger than hate. This makes you a stronger and better person.
Centered around peace and acceptance
It can make others realize how important relationships are and help rebuild them. Everyone wants peace, and forgiveness releases that over your life.
Forgiveness Day dates