CEO Coach Robinson Blog# Thirteen- missing forgiveness in the US and in our organizations.

by jeremy.robinson on August 18, 2011

I’ve found myself troubled over the past fifteen years by what appears to me to be a hardening and polarizing of attitudes of people in the United States. At the core of these attitudes, is the limited capacity to forgive and the very strong need to extract vengeance for how we may have been wronged.

According to the Webster’s Dictionary definitions of to forgive are:

a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for
b : to grant relief from payment of 2 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : pardon .

Let me say at the outset, that I don’t have an answer here [although I do have some very unsettling questions]. I do know that what is best in us is our capacity to forgive.

I personally grieve for role models like Martin Luther King not only for what he said but for his actions in the civil rights movement and how his capacity for forgiveness was a calling. It was something which made all of us better.

I am saddened by the fact that we don’t seem to have leaders today who want to pull us in the direction of making us better than who we are. Too many leaders, either in public life or private life are dead set on righting wrongs and extracting a price- this is behavior organized around demanding vengeance.

I wonder how can we ever heal individually or as a society, when vengeance is our goal? The revenge business may be good for the character Inigo Montoya in the movie The Princess Bride but in real life it leaves us empty, only wanting more…vengeance. We never get enough vengeance- it has an addictive quality to it.

I love to read those rare stories about individuals who have been able to forgive and what it has taught them. I’d like us to become a society more in favor giving- breaking down the word forgive as FOR giving.

Indeed we could all use what is in the DNA of that wonderful little six- year old girl who was bitten by a sharp recently who said she forgives him

I don’t have a way to do this. I don’t have a path or a campaign but I’d love this conversation to become viral because I think we all need the discussion around forgiveness and what keeps us holding on to the need to extract vengeance.

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