Beyond Revenge – Forgiveness on a National Level (Part five of a five part series)
On an international level, the book discusses the implications of revenge and forgiveness between countries. It is important to note that forgiveness also on national level has to include, as it does on a personal level, assurances of safety, by the country asking for forgiveness. The country doing the forgiving can make themselves vulnerable. The decision to forgive is an important one for both individuals and for nations. It is important for both the country(s) asking for forgiveness and the country(s) willing to forgive. The author goes into some depth about the various strategies that could be employed to limit the “Revenge Response” and encourage and “Forgiveness Response” and how to create an environment of cooperation which leads to forgiveness.
There is also discussion about the moral implications of vengeance and forgiveness as well. In this section McCullough makes the connection between religion, individuals, and nations. His point being that as the natural inclination to claim righteous revenge is rechanneled to the alternative inclination to forgive will be important in human kinds’ survival. It is not so much the survival of the fittest, but survival of the forgiving.
Here are two important concepts about forgiveness:
- Forgiveness is not given it is earned.
- Forgiveness often is not total, in comes in stages, we may forgive partially at first and then we see how that goes and decide to become more forgiving.
While we are talking about revenge and forgiveness I want to end this series with the next step which is negotiation. Negotiation is an essential element in forgiveness, because of the two factors that I have mentioned above. The person or nation that is asking for forgiveness has to figure out and negotiate how they can earn the forgiveness, As there may be stages of forgiveness, how those stages progress has to be negotiated as well.
In regards, to both the points above negotiation is involved, if you are interested in negotiation with your partner, you might want to take a look at my: “Negotiation Handbook for Couples” which will give you a step by step guide on how to negotiate for forgiveness with them.