In scientific studies on forgiveness, it’s not uncommon to hear that the benefits come to the one doing the forgiving. Is that the whole picture? Is forgiveness a sort of self-serving act?
Character & Virtue
The Greater Good Science Center is one of the best aggregators of research on forgiveness and they provide it an easily comprehendible form. We recommend this section which includes headings for “What Is Forgiveness?”, “Why Practice It?”, and “How Do I Cultivate It?”
There is much insight in Scripture on generosity, but how does that Biblical wisdom match up with what scientists are learning?
Hope and optimism are often lumped together (as we have done here), but they are not precise synonyms. In church, most of our attention is on hope, a central aspect of the Gospel message. For scientists, the attention is reversed as optimism is an easier concept to define and study experimentally. So what are scientists discovering?
At the center of Thanksgiving—both the holiday and the practice—is generosity. When we’re thankful for what we have, we become content, and we tend to open our eyes and our hands. We give to others. Scripture and science are both clear about this.