30 Minute Meditations on Being Human from the Life and Writings of Viktor Frankl, Day 19: The Strength to Forgive

The Strength to Forgive

Lesson for the Day: One the hardest lessons in life is to learn to forgive those who hurt you, victimized you and, even worse, took away the lives of your loved ones. Incredibly, Viktor Frankl learned to do just that! He chose the way of love over hate. Choose, then, to exercise the greatest or most divine-like virtue of all, namely, love.

Historical Background: The following words from Dr. Frankl were addressed to the Society of Physicians in Vienna, Austria, on 25 March 1949, honoring the physicians who died in the Holocaust. By the phase “forgive the living,” Frankl is referring to the perpetrators of the Holocaust, many of whom, at that time, were alive.

“[W]e do not only want to remember the dead, but also to forgive the living. As we extend our hand to the dead, across the graves, so we also extend our hand to the living, across all hatred. And if we say, ‘Honor to the dead,’ we want to add, ‘and peace to all the living, who are of good will.’”

Source: Viktor E. Frankl, Psychotherapy and Existentialism: Selected Papers on Logotherapy (New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, Inc., 1967), p. 111.

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