Thursday, October 16, 2008

Atonement and The Power to Forgive

Emotional wellness is defined by Dr. Bill Hettler as: "...a person being both aware of and accepting of a wide range of feelings in him/herself and others. He/She is able to freely express feeling and manage feeling effectively to arrive at personal choices/decisions based upon the integration of feelings, cognition and behavior." Emotional wellness is also described as self-awareness or self-acceptance. The definition by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-founder of the National Wellness Institute, Inc, on his web page goes on to say that an emotionally well person can function autonomously but is aware of personal limitations and the value of seeking interpersonal support and assistance.

Emotional wellness extends beyond oneself as it encompasses the health of our
relationships with ourselves, others, and our God. Inside each and every one of us lies the ability to let go of old hurts, anger, and despair. Forgiveness is defined by Merriam-Webster as : "Giving up resentment of; pardoning; absolving; willingness to allow room for error or weakness." Atonement is a process for making amends for a fault or wrongdoing. This process, if applied with a sincere spirit, can heal all wounds including broken marriages (, childhood abuses, overfeeding/abusing the body with food, drugs, and alcohol, and more.

In recognition of the 13th Anniversary of the Million Man March and the Holy Day of Atonement (October 16, 1995), I would like to share with you the Eight Steps of Atonement.

In order to resolve our problems with one another, we must follow these steps:

1. Point Out Wrong or Fault – Let it be known that a wrong was committed.
2. Acknowledge the Wrong – No matter who brings it to your attention, if you were at fault, admit it.
3. Confession – Confess your wrongdoing to your Creator and to the person whom you wronged.
4. Repentance – Show remorse for your actions and sincerely promise to change.
5. Atonement – If you can, do something to make up for your actions.
6. Forgiveness – Seek forgiveness from the individual wronged and your Creator. Remember, also, to forgive yourself for your transgressions.
7. Reconciliation –Settle differences and make peace with yourself and with
those whom you have wronged.
8. Perfect Union – Oneness with your Creator, family and friends.

Here are some tips for ensuring a productive atonement session:


(Adapted from Youth Leadership Development Workbook written and published by New Light Leadership Coalition, 2001-2003, pages 62-63.)

In order to work well with other people, leaders must be good at resolving conflict.
A conflict is a situation causing disunity or discord between two individuals or
groups. Conflicts are usually caused by perceived feelings of hurt, insult, or injury. To resolve a conflict, it is important to maintain control of emotions.
Use the following steps to approach solving conflicts with others peacefully:


You should never be the aggressor or the cause of a conflict. Try to avoid
physical confrontations if possible.
The main problem during conflict is that both parties want to get their point
across. This causes them to want to speak before the other person is heard. It is
important to LISTEN in order to resolve a conflict.
The other party must know that you are willing to compromise. A compromise
is the process of give and take that leads to a middle ground where BOTH PARTIES
are content.
Be sincere in your attempt to reconcile with another party.


√ Never approach an individual in front of other people as this will only cause
defensiveness.The person will likely retaliate instead of cooperating with you.

√ Do not insult the other party.Tell him what he is doing that is hurting you and
ask him to stop.

√ Do not provoke the other person or group.This will only lead to further conflict
and, potentially, violence.

√ Be calm! Instead of approaching the situation emotionally, give yourself a moment
to cool down before trying to deal with the conflict. Emotion can cause unnecessary
confusion, leaving the root of the problem neither discovered nor solved.

I wish you all peace and success in your attempts to achieve total wellness!

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