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Q&A with Mpho Tutu, Episcopal priest and co-author of The Book of Forgiving with her father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu - ANSWERS BACK

(24 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 23-May-14 14:29:45

Mpho Tutu is joining us this week for a Q&A. Mpho is the executive director of The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation (www.tutu.org.za) and the Chairperson Emeritus of the board of the Global AIDS Alliance. She has run ministries for rape survivors in South Africa; for refugees from South Africa and Namibia at the Phelps Stokes Fund in New York City, and for children all over the world.

She has co-authored her latest book, The Book of Forgiving with her father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Numerous studies have shown the social, psychological, spiritual and even physiological benefits of forgiveness, but the actual process of forgiveness is quite often still a mystery. Drawing on post-apartheid South Africa and their extraordinary work around the world, Mpho and her father Desmond Tutu offer a unique and practical guide to the four stages of forgiveness, and how we can apply them to our own lives.

Mpho is joining us this week to answer questions about her own life and work and to offer advice and insight into forgiveness. Post your questions to her before 10am on Friday 30th May and we'll post up her answers the following week.

Wow. I dont feel qualified, but what an honour.
I suppose id like to know if you feel everyone is worthy of forgiveness or whether some people commit acts that are so horrible they are beyond forgiveness?

Realitybitesyourbum Fri 23-May-14 22:34:11

Do you think it is as difficult to forgive someone who has done one really big thing wrong as lots of little unimportant things wrong?
How can you forgive when you don't feel you can?

onetiredmummy Sat 24-May-14 15:52:37

Welcome to Mumsnet smile

I understand that forgiving someone is vital to moving forward yourself & that its not good for you to hold onto resentment & bitterness for years.

However when your children have also been utterly betrayed by someone's actions, when their home & family lives have been torn apart through the selfish behaviour of a parent, how do you deal with it? I could forgive the parent myself & for the consequences of his actions, I'm an adult & I have an understanding of human nature But to have to deal with the aftermath of his selfishness where the children constantly ask where daddy is, why he is not allowed back home, what did he do, & I can't give them an honest answer as they are too young. How do you forgive for your children? How do you stop the burning hot anger inside & your utter depthless hatred for him because of how he affected his own children?

basgetti Sat 24-May-14 17:48:20

Does forgiveness rely in any way on the perpetrator acknowledging wrongdoing, or should forgiveness be unconditional?

Thankyou for taking the time to join us!
Do the principles of forgiving others also apply to self forgiveness or are there differences?

Hello, Forgiveness - what a great subject.

Do you know, is it possible for a rape survivor to forgive the perpetrator if she doesn't understand why she was raped? If it was by a "friend" or colleague, say, who used violence rather than attempting a seduction?

Thank you

DwellsUndertheSink Tue 27-May-14 20:41:30

Welcome!

Forgiveness - is it just removing the negative emotion from an experience? Because ultimately, there are some things that cannot be forgotten. But in order to live your life without that negativity, you have to find a way of taking the feeling out of it. So forgiveness and therapy are much the same thing?

Also, from a Christian perspective...God in the Old Testament is a pretty unforgiving chap. All that smiting....If we were made in His image - do we have any hope of ever really forgiving anyone, when our Designer, the prototype - finds it a tough act? The idea that His son has to intervene on our behalf - does that mean God cannot forgive? And if so, how can He expect us to be better than Him?

QuintessentiallyQS Thu 29-May-14 09:05:02

Welcome! smile

Isnt forgiveness a spiritual journey within yourself where you come to peace with what has happened to you, and something you do ultimately for your own peace of mind? If so, is asking forgiveness of somebody a way of putting them on this journey where they can achieve peace, so something you do for them rather than something you ask for yourself?

As a side note, I "met" your dad on an airplane 20 something years ago, he had been north of the Arctic circle for some event in my home town. I felt humble, but quiet safe on the plane. I was terribly scared off flying at the time, but I figured the plane would reach its destination safely with the Archbishop on board!

hottoddyplease Thu 29-May-14 19:39:43

Was it a tough decision to follow your father into the "family business"?!

Stanislas Thu 29-May-14 20:12:39

How do we forgive the people who stoned to death a young pregnant women in Lahore? How do we forgive her father for standing and watching instead of standing in front of her? father forgive them they know not what they do

Hi and welcome to mumsnet.

Through your work you must hear some dreadful stories. How do you stay empathetic and able to listen, yet not take everything home with you at the end of the day? Do you find it hard to forgive what has been done to others?

Jesus forgave his killers. How can we use this as an example for ourselves or the awful things that people do to each other in the world?

LucilleMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 30-May-14 11:11:27

The Q&A is now closed and we have sent your questions over the Mpho. Thank you to everyone who took part.

Realitybitesyourbum Fri 30-May-14 16:18:03

When do we find out the response?

LucilleMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 03-Jun-14 10:38:37

We now have the answers back from Mpho and will be posting them up on the thread shortly.

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:16:49

StealthPolarBear

Wow. I dont feel qualified, but what an honour.
I suppose id like to know if you feel everyone is worthy of forgiveness or whether some people commit acts that are so horrible they are beyond forgiveness?

Everything can be forgiven and there is nothing that cannot be forgiven.

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:17:17

Realitybitesyourbum

Do you think it is as difficult to forgive someone who has done one really big thing wrong as lots of little unimportant things wrong?
How can you forgive when you don't feel you can?

It depends on whether you forgive the small, unimportant things along the way because if you let resentment build up, they build up into one huge thing and then what’s the difference?

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:17:55

onetiredmummy

Welcome to Mumsnet smile

I understand that forgiving someone is vital to moving forward yourself & that its not good for you to hold onto resentment & bitterness for years.

However when your children have also been utterly betrayed by someone's actions, when their home & family lives have been torn apart through the selfish behaviour of a parent, how do you deal with it? I could forgive the parent myself & for the consequences of his actions, I'm an adult & I have an understanding of human nature But to have to deal with the aftermath of his selfishness where the children constantly ask where daddy is, why he is not allowed back home, what did he do, & I can't give them an honest answer as they are too young. How do you forgive for your children? How do you stop the burning hot anger inside & your utter depthless hatred for him because of how he affected his own children?

You can’t forgive for your children, you can only forgive for yourself. When your children are hurt then you are hurt too and so it’s an anguish that you experience; that you need to forgive. Your children will do their own work in their own time.

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:18:24

basgetti

Does forgiveness rely in any way on the perpetrator acknowledging wrongdoing, or should forgiveness be unconditional?

Forgiveness to be real is ultimately unconditional. It doesn’t rely on the perpetrator acknowledging wrongdoing because if it did then you as the victim would always be at the mercy of the perpetrator.

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:19:16

DwellsUndertheSink

Welcome!

Forgiveness - is it just removing the negative emotion from an experience? Because ultimately, there are some things that cannot be forgotten. But in order to live your life without that negativity, you have to find a way of taking the feeling out of it. So forgiveness and therapy are much the same thing?

Well, forgiveness is theraputic, certainly, and the burden of the feeling is what is released when you are able to forgive. It sucks the venom out of the feeling.

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:20:19

QuintessentiallyQS

Welcome! smile

Isnt forgiveness a spiritual journey within yourself where you come to peace with what has happened to you, and something you do ultimately for your own peace of mind? If so, is asking forgiveness of somebody a way of putting them on this journey where they can achieve peace, so something you do for them rather than something you ask for yourself?

Wow. Let’s go with the two parts. Yes it is a spiritual journey. No, I don’t think so - I think it can help to put that person on that journey but it can turn also turn them around in the wrong direction.

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:20:42

hottoddyplease

Was it a tough decision to follow your father into the "family business"?!

Yes and No. No in the sense that it was very clearly my calling; my vocation. Yes in the sense that I didn’t really want this!

MphoTutu Tue 03-Jun-14 11:21:01

thegreenheartofmanyroundabouts

Hi and welcome to mumsnet.

Through your work you must hear some dreadful stories. How do you stay empathetic and able to listen, yet not take everything home with you at the end of the day? Do you find it hard to forgive what has been done to others?

You pray. That is the role of prayer and spiritual practises - that you hand over.

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