Skip to main content

The dynamics of forgiveness - a "clean slate" opportunity!

The "Clean Slate" concept offers a way to build a better self and world

In 1999 I first visited Caux - an Initiatives of Change conference centre in Switzerland - as part of the . We were a group of young people from different parts of the world, but mostly from Latin America, who had the very special opportunity to live in an itinerant community, with people from different backgrounds and life perspectives, seeking to give flesh to the motto 'NOTHING CHANGES IN THE WORLD IF I DON'T CHANGE FIRST'.

At that time the was being launched, inviting people to use the turn of the millennium to take action to make a fresh start in their lives – for example to forgive someone who had wronged them or apologise to someone they might have wronged. At that time I had already straightened out some things that were wrong in my relationship life with my mum, stepfather, dad and siblings; but the idea of the campaign was anchored in my heart.

In 2020 my family and I decided to honour what I had felt was a divine calling to serve people in South America and the world, as I was sitting on Table mountain early one morning in Panchgani, India. We wanted to be available for all those who have their roots in Frank Buchman's moral and spiritual legacy. Be it from Gente que Avanza, where Fabiana and I met and were trained, others who had an experience with Moral Re-armament decades earlier or the many who now labour under the expression Initiatives of Change. It meant uprooting from Uruguay and moving to Brazil. The pandemic caught us in the process of 'landing' in our new home. Some misunderstandings with members of the IofC-Brazil board made us decide -after a year- to return to Uruguay and continue with the call we believe God has given us. Some resentments with people remained in my heart, but I knew that forgiveness is part of the human experience I have to live... so I forgave those I felt had hurt me.

2024 arrived and with it another opportunity to deepen the dynamics of forgiveness - giving and receiving forgiveness. To my surprise, during the 15th Encounter of the Americas, in Porto Alegre/Brazil, my wife and I received a request for forgiveness from the three representatives of the IofC-Brazil leadership at the Encounter. This attitude I welcomed with much gratitude and restored the bond, opening doors to continue walking together in the mission and spirit of IofC.

This same year, in January, I had the opportunity to return to the – the IofC Training Centre for Latin America in Brazil – as an interpreter for John Bond who would share about Australia's . After listening to John's sharing on the impact of forgiveness in a country and for a time in silence, the thought came to me to apologise to the leadership of IofC-Brazil for not understanding that they were really concerned about finances at the time and that our presence might have added stress to their management. Immediately after this, dozens of thoughts started pouring in, justifying my action and telling me that 'they were more wrong than I was'... so I should not apologise for that 'small' percentage of my part in the misunderstandings. But I also learned that an inspired thought is like an 'order' that is not reasoned, but obeyed. So, very much against all my logical reasons for not doing what I had to do at that moment, I turned to the four representatives of the 2020 leadership, and reaching out my hand to each of them for direct eye contact, I said, by name, sorry for not being aware of the complicated situation they were in at that moment and for having added worry to their lives. .... Full stop! By doing this -obeying the inner voice guidance- I felt ready to move forward with our friends from Brazil. Sadly and unexpectedly the chair of the board -Reginaldo de Souza- passed away a couple of month later, and... I thought how important was to find the guidance and to obey it. Now we are experience a new spirit with the other members of the board, which will enable us to support each other in the mission we have.

Both at the Americas Encounter and at that moment in Sítio São Luiz, the theme of the Clean Slate Campaign was very much on my mind and in my heart. It was as if that first impression in Switzerland in 1999, had taken firm root and emerged with clear strength to help me take the step I needed.

The dynamic of forgiveness - whether giving or receiving it - as I understanding it, requires courage, a spiritual and mental strength that simply takes me to a better state of humanity, of authentic well-being, of understanding that there is a moment when both parties are ready for a 'clean slate' and to walk together in remaking a better world, as Frank Buchman, initiator of Moral Rearmament/Initiatives of Change, envisioned. That is an essential step towards a world free of hate, fear and greed.

who have gone through deep experiences of pain turning into hatred and resentment, massacres and wars, etc., has also given me a perspective to further deepen this dynamic of forgiveness. Some of the most challenging and encouraging films/documentaries was watching and analysing the impacts of the life of "", which tells the 'clean slate' experience of two men who in trying to embody their religious values, different from each other, had to learn to live together and help other communities to forgive each other, love each other and live together in a healthy way. Also the film "" which shows how two people with different visions of life can find common ground and work to restore the social fabric in their country.

Every day we have some new opportunities to live a ’clean slate’ experience... this might be a significant gift to this world in great need.

We welcome your comments on this blog. To participate in the discussion please visit our Facebook page via the link below.
Blog language


Article language