Inner Michael » Forgiveness Challenge- All for Love

Forgiveness Challenge- All for Love

I sincerely urge you, and hope against hope that you will give yourself this gift! It is only day 2 of “The Forgiveness Project” lead by Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu and I already know I am in the right place. The project started with a survey that immediately told me that there is nothing but personal gain ahead of me in joining this project and I already see that it will make the world a better place.

In listening to Bishop Tutu and Reverend Tutu speak on Huffington Post live, a single initial question stopped me in my tracks: “If this was a world where we didn’t nurse grudges… what kind of world would this already be?”

Where “we didn’t NURSE grudges?”

Whoa. I had always thought of it as holding a grudge. I have looked at places where I hold grudges and I know I need more work there, but do I nurse grudges?

The question startled me but I had to admit that there are areas in my life where I do– not just hold grudges but I nurse them! Already I am more awake! More aware! Already I have found one way to become a better person and thereby create a better (instead of bitter) world. I am more awake, aware and comforted than I was yesterday.

I learned that simply a smile and a simple greeting to the “other” is considered the start of building bridges and creating peace. I know I don’t smile enough.

I was relieved to hear also that we are obligated to stand up and speak out as patriots and as loyal opposition to oppression and injustice; forgiveness does not circumvent justice or the need to right the wrong.

I was glad to hear that– forgiveness is not all Kumbaya or ‘Hakuna Matata.’ Forgiveness does not mean ignoring those guilty of wrongdoing; forgiveness does not mean letting people off the hook but holding people accountable for their actions. It is asking for what is needed to move forward. “I’m sorry” are difficult words, but they are healing words. Taking responsibility for what has been done is courageous. Taking responsibility for the path to forgiveness in any situation is also courageous. It’s noble.

Here are the first steps to immersion in the forgiveness challenge. “Peace begins with me,” so I was delighted to find the program begins with how one treats self. Boy, do I need to learn to treat myself better and that will give me permission to extend that compassion to others.

It looks like I may about to drop a lot of unnecessary baggage and begin reconciliation. I am definitely in the right place and this is the right time.

When we do this kind of work, adding intention and dedication amplifies the impact of the work and makes it much stronger. I am going to dedicate this work to someone and do it on behalf of them. It is probably the greatest gift I can give the world in their honor. I can ‘make that change’ to be the change I wish to see in the world.

Here’s a sneak peak– the survey that is a measurement tool for before and after:

In the course of our lives negative things may occur because of our own actions, the actions of others, or circumstances beyond our control. For some time after these events, we may have negative thoughts or feelings about ourselves, others, or the situation. Think about how you typically respond to such negative events. Click the circle on the seven-point scale under each of the following items that best describes how you typically respond to the type of negative situation described. There are no right or wrong answers. Please be as open as possible in your answers.

Almost Always False of Me
More Often False of Me
More Often True of Me
Almost Always True of Me

2. Although I feel bad at first when I mess up, over time I can give myself some slack.

3. I hold grudges against myself for negative things I’ve done.

4. Learning from bad things that I’ve done helps me get over them.

5. It is really hard for me to accept myself once I’ve messed up.

6. With time I am understanding of myself for mistakes I’ve made.

7. I don’t stop criticizing myself for negative things I’ve felt, thought, said, or done.

8. I continue to punish a person who has done something that I think is wrong.

9. With time I am understanding of others for the mistakes they’ve made.

10. I continue to be hard on others who have hurt me.

11. Although others have hurt me in the past, I have eventually been able to see them as good people.

12. If others mistreat me, I continue to think badly of them.

13. When someone disappoints me, I can eventually move past it.

14. When things go wrong for reasons that can’t be controlled, I get stuck in negative thoughts about it.

15. With time I can be understanding of bad circumstances in my life.

16. If I am disappointed by uncontrollable circumstances in my life, I continue to think negatively about them.

17. I eventually make peace with bad situations in my life.

18. It’s really hard for me to accept negative situations that aren’t anybody’s fault.

19. Eventually I let go of negative thoughts about bad circumstances that are beyond anyone’s control.

I am eager to learn what comes next. Join me? It’s not to late to jump in! It’s all for LOVE.


  1. lynn said . . .

    Hello Rev B. -I have recently watched Michelle Knight (one of the three women held captive and tortured for nearly a decade in Cleveland by Ariel Castro) speaking about how she forgives him! She is an amazing human being! She also has written a book…if anyone has not read or heard her speak about her thoughts on life- please do so! Wow!

    Posted May 5, 2014 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  2. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Thanks, L. I think this is the woman whom is scheduled to be interviewed on Dr. Phil Wednesday, May 7. I can’t imagine how big her heart is. And I can’t imagine how badly you have to hurt and how frightened to be alone you have to be, and how twisted your idea of relationships has to be to do this to someone. To several someones. It’s still hard for me to believe that the neighbors had no suspicions for ten years about what was going on in that house. If we cared better for the “other” and developed the compassion and passion to build community, we would know our neighbors and care what happens to our neighborhood family and I doubt anybody could get away with this. Especially for a decade!

    Posted May 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink
  3. Kim said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara. Boy these questions certainly help one reflect deeply and encourage you to look at yourself honestly.

    Posted May 9, 2014 at 5:04 am | Permalink
  4. B. Kaufmann said . . .

    Hi K. Yet there is no condemnation or judgment, but an acknowledgment of humanness. I am on day 6 of the challenge and I can’t believe how simple it is, yet how profound. Retaliation or reconnection? The revenge cycle or the forgiveness cycle? Just knowing one is not a slave to resentment and that there is a choice and a method is freeing. Besides hanging out with Desmond Tutu is itself inspiring. ~B

    Posted May 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

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