A day to forgive and be forgiven, Forgiveness Day is a chance to set things right. It is the perfect opportunity to set aside old differences, move beyond grievances or hurts, and start afresh.
History of Global Forgiveness Day
Global Forgiveness Day was established to create goodwill among people and allow them to stop carrying around so much guilt and pain in their lives. It’s a day to set differences and conflicts aside and work on forgiving the hurts and finding healing.
In fact, some health studies have shown that people who are willing to offer forgiveness, whether to themselves or others, are much more likely to be happy and healthy than those who withhold forgiveness! That’s a great reason to live a life centered around forgiveness.
Global Forgiveness Day was founded in 1994 by the CECA (Christian Embassy of Christ’s Ambassadors). It originally started in Canada, but as it gained popularity throughout the world, it was renamed as Global Forgiveness Day.
While there is a different Forgiveness Day in August, founded by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance, the Forgiveness Day on 7th July was founded by CECA. Honestly, though, both days really have essentially the same message; to forgive!
How to Celebrate Global Forgiveness Day
Celebrating Global Forgiveness Day can be as simple or intricate as a person chooses to make it. Consider these ideas for celebrating, or come up with some other creative ideas:
Reach Out to an Estranged Friend or Family Member
Of course, the perfect day to let old wounds heal is Global Forgiveness Day. Release that inner angst by letting go of something that has been festering, and letting that person know that they have been forgiven.
Although this can certainly happen on any day and doesn’t need to wait for a special day, Global Forgiveness Day can act as a kickstart or motivator to really make it happen! Maybe it would work as a good conversation starter for getting the ball rolling with that friend or family member who needs to be forgiven.
Make a List of People to Forgive
These might be people who are currently part of your life, but they may also be people whom you’ve never met but have had an impact on this current life. These could be world leaders or politicians of the past who may have been the cause of wars or destruction. Or maybe there are people who invented terrible things like the nuclear bomb or guns that have had a negative impact on society. Or possibly there’s a need to forgive the people of previous generations who didn’t take very good care of the planet and its resources.
Maybe these people who need to be forgiven have names, or they might simply be general people who carry the responsibility for something, like slavery or racism or the fostering of hate against a certain people group. Forgiveness is part of the process of healing and not holding resentment any longer, even if the people being forgiven are not aware of it or have already died.
Watch a Film About Forgiveness
For those who are in the mood to get entwined in a story about forgiveness, grab a friend or family member and throw a movie on the screen that might give good vibes and inspire forgiveness. Try out some of these films that are centered around the theme of forgiveness.
- Invictus, 2009. A biographical sports drama featuring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, this film is based on the true story of a rugby team affected by apartheid in the mid-1990s. Through the rugby team’s competition, as well as interactions with Nelson Mandela, the film tells the story of pushing boundaries, leading well, and the power of forgiveness when it comes to overcoming racism and reconciling people no matter what color they are.
- Lady Bird, 2014. This drama revolves around a young girl (played by Saoirse Ronan) who longs to flee from her family as soon as she leaves high school. Her final year in school reveals hurts and difficulties which ultimately pave the way for opportunities in healing and forgiveness.
- Forgiveness, 2004. This aptly titled film shows the story of an ex-police officer (played by Eric Bana) who tortured and killed an activist during apartheid. It reveals his conflicted relationship with Archbishop Desmond Tutu (played by Forest Whitaker), and his pursuit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Share Forgiveness Experiences and Stories
Whether through a blog, social media post, or telling someone in person, sharing stories of forgiveness can be a great reminder of how short life is and how good it feels to forgive! Plus, passing on the feeling to others might encourage them to forgive someone in their lives, which will help lighten their burdens and be happier and healthier every day.
Those who have a friend or family member who has forgiven them might want to share a picture of that person who has been so forgiving, just mentioning how grateful they are to have been the recipient of forgiveness.
Teach Children the Importance of Forgiveness
Some people get many decades into their lives before they learn how important it is to forgive. Children, who are early in life, can be spared a great deal of pain by being taught the skill of forgiveness at a very young age.
For older kids, have a discussion about the health and freedom that can be found in forgiveness. Younger kids might benefit from reading a book together on the subject, such as one of these:
- Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes. When Lilly brings her favorite purse to school and doesn’t obey, her teacher must take it away for a while. Lilly is furious and learns a lot about remorse and forgiveness.
- The Berenstain Bears and The Forgiving Tree by Jan and Mike Berenstain. When Brother Bear gets a new bike but a friend damages it, Sister tries to help him learn about forgiveness.
- Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan. When a little girl has to let her sister come with her to a birthday party, she is embarrassed and angry, then has to learn to forgive.
- The Forgiveness Garden by Lauren Thompson. Two families have been enemies for as long as anyone can remember, until one day a little girl decides to do something to try to heal the wounds.