The Power of Forgiveness


Researchers examine the psychological and physical effects of forgiveness on individuals and within relationships.


Over the last 20 years the topic of forgiveness has come into its own as an area of academic study. Researchers are now examining the psychological and physical effects of forgiveness on individuals and within relationships under an amazingly wide variety of conditions, ranging from petty insults to sexual assault. Clinicians have developed interventions that help guide people through a structured process that allows them to forgive transgressions and get on with their lives.

The POWER of FORGIVENESS explores this important research and translates it into a popular, accessible documentary film. The focus is on the emergent understanding of contemporary clinical and academic research that shows forgiveness is validated as having real potential for personal and spiritual transformation. At the same time the film points to the centrality of forgiveness as a virtue in many of the world’s great religions and the struggle that people of all faiths have in honouring it.

The film combines character-driven stories of dramatic transgressions with those of more commonplace annoyances, examining the role that forgiveness can play in alleviating the resulting anger and grief and the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that come with forgiveness.

The film includes stories and interviews with people from many faith traditions: Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh, Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel on forgiveness in the Jewish faith; Azim Khamisa on forgiveness and Islam; Rev. James Forbes, pastor emeritus of Riverside Church in New York, on forgiveness from a Christian perspective. There are stories on forgiveness research, The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut, Lebanon, building a Garden of Forgiveness at Ground Zero and the Amish teaching on forgiveness. Bonus features include an interview with the filmmaker Martin Doblmeier and Archbishop Desmond Tutu on South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.