• Can forgiveness be granted to those who have committed terrorist acts? 
  • Can one forgive in the absence of apology or remorse?
  • Can there be reconciliation following mass murder?

These are some of the questions the Forgiveness and Reconciliation section of the Community Tool Box addresses.

This resource has grown out of the work of The Forgiveness Project and has been developed with support from the Charter for Compassion and in collaboration with The University of Kansas.

Forgiveness and reconciliation can occur in every sphere of human experience, including individual, community, national, and trans-national levels. In this section of the Community Tool Box, we will explore these common yet complicated aspects of our human existence, describe their importance for personal and community well-being, and illustrate, with many real-life stories, how they might be applied in positive ways to heal and strengthen both individuals and communities.

In any discussion about forgiveness and reconciliation, it is important to make a distinction between the two before analyzing each of them in greater detail. On the one hand, forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciling with the wrongdoer. There may be good reasons why you do not wish to reconcile. Reconciliation is an additional choice. On the other hand, it is nearly impossible to reconcile with someone you have not gone some way to forgive.

We begin with some general thoughts about forgiveness and reconciliation, and their place in the spiritual and community worlds…