MP: Tell me about your latest project.

MT: The Book of Forgiving, which I have written with my father. Forgiveness is something that we are often asked to grant and very few of us ever have the roadmap of how to get from the pain that we have experienced to being able to forgive someone. So, this book offers a manual and a handbook for forgiveness.

MP: How has the process of writing this book with your father affected your relationship with your him?

MT: I always enjoy writing with my father. I wrote the book Made for Goodness with him two years ago and I love writing with him because he is so clear sighted and so pure thinking. I think that the biggest affect on my relationship of writing the book has been that I see him more and more as my hero.

MP: Why is forgiveness so important?

MT: We can carry the burden of hurt throughout our lives. We can make the hurt that we have experienced the defining aspect of our stories of ourselves. That means that somebody else gets to say who we are, somebody else gets to decide how we feel, and somebody else gets to decide how we see the world. Forgiveness not only frees us from the burden of someone else’s opinion of us, but it allows us the opportunity to really write a story of ourselves that we can love, enjoy, relish, and live into.

MP: Have you struggled with forgiveness?

MT: I don’t struggle to forgive people. I find it quite easy to forgive people for the harms that they have inflicted on me. What I do find challenging is to forgive people for the harms they inflict on my daughters and family. So, I find it challenging when I see somebody else experience hurt. I also look at my children and family and then I realize, I don’t stand inside their skin and that is for me a forgiveness practice I still need to engage in.

MP: What’s been one of your biggest lessons so far in your life?

MT: I can’t control what happens to me, but I can control how I respond to it.

MP: What truth do you know for sure?

MT: Actually, honestly, it is that we can arrive at better solutions to any problem or pain together, than we can by ourselves. The beauty of the modern age is that you are able to source answers, and sometimes the genius is in the combination of ideas and energy that does not reside in only one person.

The Reverend MPHO A. TUTU is currently the executive director of The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and has run ministries for children in Worcester, Massachusetts; for rape survivors in Grahamstown, South Africa; and for refugees from South Africa and Namibia at the Phelps Stokes Fund in New York City. She is pursuing a doctorate on the subject of forgiveness from Vrije University, Amsterdam. With her father, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, she has authored Made for Goodness and, now, The Book of Forgiving.


Photos: Oryx Media 2013

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