About the Forgiveness Challenge:
- How much time will I need to spend each day?
We know how busy you are, so we’ve tried to keep each exercise brief—something you can finish in less than 15 minutes, though you might want to spend more time if you have it. Like anything, you get out of it what you put into it. And what you will get with the Forgiveness Challenge is more joy, more love, and more freedom.
- What if I have to travel or am not sure I can commit to the entire 30 days?
You won’t need to log on to the website every day and, ultimately you can move through the material at your own pace. The material will be here for you when you get back.
- Wasn’t the Forgiveness Challenge free for everyone when it started?
The entire project is funded by very generous donors, but maintaining the website and growing the reach of the Challenge requires further help. Your contribution to the Challenge ensures that we continue to help people around the globe discover the power of forgiveness. For anyone who truly can’t afford to support the Challenge, they can choose “scholarship” when signing up. With your help we’re committed to ensuring that this resource is always available to everyone who needs it.
Your contact information will not be sold or shared with anyone. Period. We will contact you about the Forgiveness Challenge and you may also get emails regarding future events & challenges that Desmond Tutu will be sponsoring as part of Human Journey, but you can choose to opt out at any time. Our goal is to support you in having your most awesome life. Spam is not awesome.
- What is the Human Journey?
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the co-founder of a cool, new online platform for transformational ideas to help you, your family, your community and our shared world to thrive. It’s called Human Journey. The Forgiveness Challenge is our first project. Want to learn more? Go here.
- Isn’t forgiveness just saying ‘I forgive you’ or ‘I’m sorry’?
While forgiveness sometimes happens quickly and easily it is a deeply personal process that can take time and effort. It’s different for everyone and every situation but if the hurt is significant, it usually involves more than simply saying a few words.
- Doesn’t the person who hurt you have to apologize first before you can forgive?
It is certainly easier to forgive if a person who hurt you apologizes, but it is not necessary. And often it doesn’t happen or can’t happen, say, if the person has died. The bottom line—forgiveness doesn’t depend on someone else’s actions. You can choose to forgive no matter what the person who caused you harm does or doesn’t do.
- What is the Fourfold Path of Forgiveness?
The Fourfold Path is the process we developed in The Book of Forgiving, and it is based on our work around the world who have suffered heartbreak and violence. The four steps are: Telling the Story, Naming the Hurt, Granting Forgiveness, and Renewing or Releasing the Relationship. During the Challenge you’ll learn more about each step.
- Doesn’t forgiveness let the person who hurt you off the hook?
Forgiveness isn’t a “get out of jail free” card. Forgiving doesn’t let the other person off the hook, it lets you off the hook—when you forgive you choose to no longer be a victim.
- What about justice?
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that a person who has broken a law should not be tried for a crime or otherwise be held accountable. Someone you forgive may in fact go to prison for their crime, but by forgiving, you don’t have to remain in a prison of pain and hatred with them.
- Isn’t forgiveness a sign of weakness?
We admire people who forgive. Does anyone think Nelson Mandela was weak for forgiving his jailors? It takes great strength to forgive, and tremendous power to let go of a wrong. During the Forgiveness Challenge, we will share stories of extraordinary people who have chosen to forgive. After you hear their stories, after you travel your own path of forgiving, you will know there is nothing weak about forgiveness When you don’t forgive you compound the initial hurt, by continuing to hurt yourself.
- Aren’t you supposed to forgive and forget?
Forgiving does not mean forgetting. That’s a common misconception. We don’t deny or pretend when it comes to authentic forgiveness. We can only truly forgive in the light of truth and honesty.
- What if I’m not ready to forgive?
Only you will know when you are ready to forgive. We invite you to start where you are, no matter where that is. If you think you are not ready to forgive, or will never forgive, we still invite you to participate in the Forgiveness Challenge. Forgiveness is like a muscle you develop and during the forgiveness challenge you will be able to practice forgiveness with whatever you are ready to forgive—including yourself.
- How long does it take to forgive?
It can happen slowly, or it can happen quickly. No one can tell you how quickly you should walk the path of forgiveness. We hope that at the end of 30 days you will have found forgiveness for something or someone. Walk the Fourfold Path and keep an open mind. You will be amazed at how quickly your life can be transformed just by considering to forgive, or making small movements toward forgiving.
- I need to ask for forgiveness for what I have done. Is the Challenge for me as well?
Absolutely. We are all broken and inevitably we hurt one another. We hurt others and we are hurt by others. At times we are victim; at times we are perpetrator. The Fourfold Path and the Challenge work equally well no matter what side of the line you happen to be standing on at this moment.
- What about self-forgiveness?
It’s hard to forgive others, but it can seem even harder to forgive ourselves. We can be our own judge and jury. The Challenge will explore how we can use the Fourfold Path to forgive ourselves.
- Don’t you need to believe in God or be religious to forgive?
While faith may help some people to forgive, forgiveness does not require faith in anything—beyond faith in the power of human beings to change.
- Aren’t some people evil and aren’t some things beyond forgiveness?
By calling someone evil or a monster, you take away their their accountability for what they have done. None of us is born wanting to be a criminal, wanting to hurt others, or wanting to cause suffering. Every single one of us, given the same set of circumstances and pressures, has the ability to do evil. And every single one of us has the ability to change. Nothing and no one is beyond forgiveness because you are not forgiving them for them. You are forgiving them for you.
- Isn’t revenge a natural reaction, hard-wired into our DNA?
We are just as hard-wired for connection as we are for revenge. Perhaps even more so. We are all one human family, and we need each other to survive and to thrive. We have many impulses that are part of our evolutionary biology that we know not to act on. We each have a choice—retaliation or forgiveness.
- How can forgiveness heal the world?
Forgive within yourself. Forgive within your family. Forgive within your community. This is how we heal the world. We start close and we work our way out. In South Africa, we have the term “Ubuntu,” which literally means “humanity.” It is the belief that a person is only a person through other people. We are all family, and any tear in the fabric of connection between us must be repaired for us all to be made whole. To walk the path of forgiveness is to recognize that my life is bound up in your life, and every wrongdoing hurts us all. Forgiveness is how we heal the world, one relationship at a time.