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Taboos and Issues p.38


Turning the other cheek



Discuss with your class:

1. Do you easily forgive people, or do you hold grudges?

2. Have you ever not forgiven a person for something that they did to you?

3. Do you know anyone who has forgiven a person who:

• cheated them out of some money?

• physically assaulted them?

• spread rumours about them?

• stole from them?

• was unfaithful to them? (had sex with someone else)

4. Would you forgive the person in the situations above?



Read through the first part of this article and answer the question below:



For no apparent reason, Reginald Denny, 33, was pulled from his truck and badly beaten by at least two men during the 1992 race riots in Los Angeles. The horrible and violent scene was caught on film by the many television cameras that were there at the time. Images of Denny being kicked and punched over and over again until his body lay lifeless on the ground were broadcast live into millions of living rooms all over the world. The cameras even captured the happy dance that one of the men did in celebration of his act of brutality, while his partner took the opportunity to reach down and take Denny's wallet. Luckily, Denny was rescued by some good Samaritans in the area and promptly taken to a hospital.


What do you think should happen to the attackers?


Continue reading and answer the questions below:

Denny was left with permanent physical deformities and handicaps but he did eventually recover, miraculously, from his injuries and was well enough to attend the trial of the men who nearly beat him to death. But what was even more amazing than his relatively quick recovery was his attitude towards his attackers. Denny's assailants showed absolutely no remorse during the entire trial and were sentenced to 10 years each in prison. The light sentences alone would have outraged most victims, and in fact did outrage many people in the United States at the time, but not Reginald Denny. Immediately after the sentences were read, Denny, present throughout the trial, walked over to the mothers of the attackers and hugged them both. He later said, "Forgiveness is there. It has to be." Denny still regularly suffers from severe seizures and headaches and can no longer drive a truck - his job at the time of the beating. His only income now is the $1 20 a week he receives from a disability allowance from the Government. Denny's attackers served only four years of their ten-year sentences and have since been arrested for rape, murder, and the illegal possession of drugs.


1. What proof was there of the beating?

2. What was Reginald Denny's job in 1992?

3. How long did the men who beat him go to jail for?

4. Were the sentences considered long enough?

5. Did the men feel bad about what they did to Denny?



1. Why do you think Denny forgave his attackers?

2. Do you think forgiving them did any good?

3. Do you admire his act of forgiveness?

4. Would you have forgiven the men if they had done the same thing to you?



Match the words on the left with those on the right to make whole expressions about forgiveness:

1. forgive and 2. water under the 3. turn the other 4. bury the 5. hold a 6. got a chip on his a. grudge b. cheek c. forget d. shoulder e. hatchet f. bridge

(A hatchet is a kind of axe.)


Now use the expressions in these sentences:

7. I always forgive people. I'm not the sort of person to … .

8. We used to be bitter enemies but that's all … now.

9. If possible, the best policy is … . If you can't forget, at least try to forgive.

10. I think I need to go and talk to Sally and … . We can't keep ignoring each other like this.

11. If someone hurts or insults you, your instinct is to get revenge. The harder option is to … .

12. Martin's a very difficult person to work with. He's … about not getting promoted last year and he's so cynical all the time.


Do you have similar expressions in your language?



In small groups, decide if you would forgive the people involved in the situations below:

1. Your father tells you, when you are 30, that you are adopted.

2. You find out that your partner of 15 years has been sleeping with your best friend.

3. You catch your mother reading jour diary.

4. You lend your car to a colleague at work who damages it beyond repair.

5. Your partner slaps you in the face»in the heat of a serious argument.

6. Your brother/sister forgets your birthday.

7. You're in hospital following a major operation and your best friend doesn't visit you.

8. You find out that a good friend of yours has been revealing your intimate secrets to others.

9. A stranger in a bar spills a cold beer on your new shirt and just laughs.

10. While making love, your partner calls you by someone else's name.


In America when a criminal is found guilty, the victim is allowed to make a speech in court addressing the criminal. Do you think this is a good thing? Why? If you were a victim, what sort of speech would you give?



Which of the following quotations is your favourite? Why?


Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.

Oscar Wilde

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

The Bible

"I can forgive, but I cannot forget" is only another way of saying "I cannot forgive".

H. W. Beecher, American clergyman

When a man says "I cannot forgive," he is lying. What he means is, "I will not forgive."


The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

Thomas Szaz, American psychiatrist



Date: 2014-12-22; view: 1341

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