The power and difficulty of forgiveness can be seen in every day life, in the rough and tumble of routine relationships, but it is highlighted by the difficulties encountered in places like the Middle East, the former Hungary, and in South Africa. South Africa embraced forgiveness, and avoided the constant terror attacks that have plagued the Middle East for decades. The Catholic church institutionalizes forgiving in its confessionals, sometimes an object of ridicule because it appears as if forgiving is too easily obtained. The Jews have an entire holiday devoted to forgiving in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The American justice system often forgoes forgiveness when victims harangue those found guilty just prior to sentencing. Some crime victims seek "closure", often with limited success.
Is it difficult or easy for you to forgive? Who reaps the highest rewards: those who forgive or those who are forgiven? Should forgiveness be given conditionally? That is, are there situations or conditions under which forgiveness is inappropriate, or not yet earned? If forgiveness is good for the forgiver, should one forgive as a selfish act, independent of whether the person being forgiven has "earned" it?
As some of you know, it costs me about $144 each year to run this meetup. If you have the resources and the inclination, a small contribution ($5-$10) each year would help defray this cost. Think of this as my asking you to give me a quarter at each meeting!