KALAMAZOO — Jackie DeShannon sang it in the ’60s: “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.” In 2010, most Americans still believe it.
Ninety-five percent of U.S. adults say there needs to be more love in the world, according to survey results released recently by the Kalamazoo-based Fetzer Institute, and 68 percent say they need more meaningful love in their own lives.
Survey respondents also see a need for more forgiveness. Sixty-two percent say they need more forgiveness in their personal lives. And even greater percentages say there needs to be more forgiveness in their communities (83 percent), in their nation (90 percent) and in the world (90 percent).
But there are limits to how far Americans are willing to go to forgive. Fifty-eight percent say there are circumstances when people should never be forgiven, and 60 percent believe that forgiving someone would first depend on the offender apologizing and making changes.
Forty-one percent of respondents cite murder as unforgivable, 26 percent put abuse or sexual crimes in that category, and 22 percent say any intentionally committed crime is unforgivable.
Nearly seven in 10 Americans, though, say that the U.S. is composed of generally forgiving people.
The Survey of Love and Forgiveness in American Society — which used a representative sample of 1,000 adults 18 and older — was commissioned by the Fetzer Institute to explore topics central to its mission, according to a news release from the institute.
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From The Urantia Book:
"You cannot truly love your fellows by a mere act of the will. Love is only born of thoroughgoing understanding of your neighbor's motives and sentiments. It is not so important to love all men today as it is that each day you learn to love one more human being. If each day or each week you achieve an understanding of one more of your fellows, and if this is the limit of your ability, then you are certainly socializing and truly spiritualizing your personality. Love is infectious, and when human devotion is intelligent and wise, love is more catching than hate. But only genuine and unselfish love is truly contagious. If each mortal could only become a focus of dynamic affection, this benign virus of love would soon pervade the sentimental emotion-stream of humanity to such an extent that all civilization would be encompassed by love, and that would be the realization of the brotherhood of man." 100:4.6
Said Jesus: "The Father in heaven loves his children, and therefore should you learn to love one another; the Father in heaven forgives you your sins; therefore should you learn to forgive one another..." 159:1.3