Düsseldorf, Germany—“The Power of Forgiveness” was the theme of a presentation held in honor of World Interfaith Harmony Week.
The meeting on February 13, 2023, was held by UPF-Düsseldorf and the Interreligious Prayer Circle.
The speaker, Amela Haliovic, the chairperson of the association Aktion—Leben und Lernen in Bosnien (“Action—Living and Learning in Bosnia”) and author of the book Das Salz der Tränen (“The Salt of Tears”), offered insights into her experiences as a child during the Bosnian War.
She and her family had to learn to deal with shooting and grenades, fleeing, hunger and other terrible wartime situations. She wanted to have nothing to do with feelings such as anger, bitterness, hatred and revenge. Through prayer and conversations, she built a deep relationship with God and thus was able to process the war situation and find the power to forgive.
To forgive does not mean to condone or downplay wrong, or to pretend that nothing has happened, she said. To forgive is a conscious decision. It means to make peace a priority and to desire to establish or maintain a good relationship with the other. In this way we can heal our relationships and free ourselves from negative thoughts and feelings.
To a background of meditative music, the meeting closed with prayers for world peace, for an end to the war in Ukraine, and for the victims of the February 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria.