WP: “Truth About Forgiveness”

Today’s Washington Post (p. W8) features a compelling account of a father who 14 years ago lost a son — one of hundreds murdered every year in Baltimore. This father, Bernard Williams, nearly died from grief, until he figured out how to save himself from the pits of despair. He learned to forgive himself and … the killer of his son. It’s a gritty, heart-wrenching story; would any of us do as he did?
Williams received extraordinary help from a Lauren Abramson, a Johns Hopkins professor who runs a 11-year-old Community Conferencing Center, wherein “whole neighborhoods are invited to gather and solve problems.”
Abramson also facilitates conversations between victims and incarcerated offenders, in keeping with the worldwide “restorative justice movement.” Pioneered barely a quarter century ago by Howard Zehr, now of Eastern Mennonite University, the restorative justice method adjusts the focus away from punishing the perpetrator and towards the victim, emphasizing support for the afflicted, repairing the harm, and transforming all the parties.
Being an international politics specialist, I sat up and took note of the referenced benefits of forgiveness — as compared to the “benefits” of vengeance. Herein, we encounter Everett Worthington, a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University:

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