~  8th graders Tulsa Lynching / “The Heart of the Matter” Essays  ~







There are many different ways to think about forgiveness. When we think of forgiveness we think of something done wrong.  You should always forgive when someone does wrong because if you don’t you will hold on to your memories. While its ok to remember what was done to you, it is important to forgive so you can accept it and go on with your life and not worry about it. “The thing about forgiving is that after forgiving only then can you start to heal. If you don’t forgive you are filled with hate and anger.” You can learn to forgive from songs, and books, quotes and other kinds of souses.

In the song by Don Henley The Heart of the Matter you should listen to this line. “They let you down and hurt your pride better put it all behind you; life goes on you keep carrin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside.” Don is trying to tell you that you should leave it all behind and go on with your life. He wants you to forgive the people that let you down and keep on going with your life. “It's time to get down to the heart of the matter. And I think it's about forgiveness? Even if you don't love me any more.”  This quote will change the way you think about forgiveness because you can go on with your life and not hold on to the thing that hurts you. When People get angry they normally do some thing they would regret.

In the quote “If we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be toothless and blind” Gandhi is trying to tell us that everyone in the world does not have to be the same. When someone does something wrong it is not hard to forgive them for what they have done. If you hold on to what they have done, and try to get revenge, you will never forget it. Just get over it and go on with your life. Revenge will put you on the same level as the other person.

          In the movie about the Tulsa lynchings in 1921, the blacks of Tulsa were run out of town. The white people burned the blacks homes to the ground and killed some of their family members. They also sold their land on them after they told them to build fireproof houses. When Christmas came the whole black community tried to forgive the white people for what they did. If they forgave I know that we all have enough courage to forgive. Their families were shot in cold blood in front of their eyes and saw what most people would not want to see in their lifetime. Kids and babies shot in cold blood and they were willing try to forgive for what they did to them.                     

          In the passage “Forgiveness…What’s it For?” Larry James talks about how forgiving helps you in your life. He talks about how forgiving will bring a sense of peace and well-being.  He also talked about the misconception that “forgiving the offense, such as an affair, means that you condone it.” Larry is trying to say that you don’t have to always agree with what was done but you can still forgive it. “Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.”

          Forgiveness is important because if we did not forgive other people we would always hold on to things and never forget them. If you live one day at a time, you already know that somedays you get a lot done and some days you don't, but every day what persists in your memory is your overall mood and it leads right into the mood of the next day.”(anonymous) If you don’t forgive people you’ll always be angry or upset about your own injustices.




“We often think of forgiveness as something that someone who has done us wrong must ask of us.” said Larry James, who wrote “Forgiveness…What’s it For?”  By forgiving someone you gain respect for yourself.  After you forgive someone you feel as if you have power and empathy for others.  Forgiveness can be shown is many ways.  Some examples are songs, movies, articles, and quotes. 

          The article, “Forgiveness… What’s it For?” states that, “Forgiveness is a gift to yourself.”  Forgiveness means to accept an apology from someone for their wrong doing.  Many people misinterpret it and think that forgiveness is something someone must give you.  When you forgive someone you are accepting what they did and then moving on.  Forgiveness is the key to life.  

You can learn about forgiveness from the movie, The Tulsa Lynching of 1921: A Hidden Story. White people were destroying African Americans’ homes, stealing their property and killing them because the African Americans’ had better homes and some white people thought it was unjust for them to have a better life.  Many people could not have forgiven the white people after they burned down hundreds of houses and dropped bombs from airplanes.  The African American victims did not give up hope of recovering, and came together in the end to have a Christmas celebration.  This event is a very good example of forgiveness. 

The quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “If we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless.” explains why forgiveness is important.  The quote is explaining that if no one forgave, the world would be a lonely, negative place.  If someone does something to you and you try to get revenge on them you are just making matters worse. Forgiveness will resolve your problems.   Everyone knows that two wrongs do not make a right, and that you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. 

The song The Heart of the Matter by Don Henley shows you that it is your choice to forgive someone.  “If you keep carrying that anger; it will eat you up inside.” is a line from the song that explains why you should forgive, and then you will feel relieved.  You should forgive because it makes you feel good, and your anger seems to go away after you do it.  Forgiveness is not just for adults.  Anyone can forgive.  

Paul Boese said, “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”  That quote explains what forgiveness is all about.  When you forgive someone you aren’t changing the past, but creating a better future for yourself and others because you are moving on and accepting what happened.  Thomas Szasz said, “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.”  This is true.  You should not forget after you forgive someone.  You should just accept what they did and learn from it.

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There is so much more to forgiveness then a lot of people think. Forgiveness is having the power to look at the problem differently and change your mind. At first forgiveness seems like the hardest thing to do. When you forgive someone for something they did, no matter how big or small it is. Either way, after you forgive it makes you feel important and proud of yourself. They always say to forgive and forget, but sometimes it’s not that easy. They also say forgiving is the hardest part. Forgetting is one of the hardest things to do after you have just forgiven someone. People can learn about forgiveness in Lyrics, Films, Quotes and so much more.

          The song “The Heart of the Matter” By Don Henley is about forgiveness. The words in this song all represent forgiveness but one part in the song, are the words “You keep carrying that anger; it’ll eat you up inside.” That means tome that if you stay angry with someone and hold on to it, it will hurt you the most on the inside. What the song is mainly trying to put out is that you have to have empathy to forgive and people do it everyday. When you choose to forgive, you have the power to stand up and say I am going to get through this. But then sometimes if you forgive it makes you feel bad for forgiving them when what they did really hurt you and then you feel terrible because you forgave them when they hurt you so bad. But after a while when everything is all said and one, you realize that it was for the better and you let go of that anger and don’t feel bad anymore.

          In Larry James’ article, he tells about how to forgive someone whether they need to know it or not. Larry James says “ My thoughts on forgiveness suggest that you focus on offering forgiveness TO the person who as done you wrong.” He says that it’s simple to forgive if you set your mind to it. It’s not something you do for yourself and for no one else. You shouldn’t have to feel like if you don’t tell them you forgive them, then you can’t move on. The hardest thing is hoping they will forgive… but they don’t have to for you to make yourself feel better. Instead of forgiving for them and not having them care forgive for yourself and build your self-esteem up.

          In the Mahatma Gandhi quote “If we practiced an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless.” (October 2, 1869 - January 30, 1948.) That quote means a lot, to many different people. If you do walk around referring to his quote getting revenge all the time, you would hurt yourself and have so much more to lose that way. You would go around fighting each other all day and would have no time to love or care, or even have a relationship with anyone, because you would be so busy walking around hurting and judging everyone you cam in contact with. So you can’t walk around using “An eye for an eye”, that’s wrong and it all actually it makes no sense, to use the quote like that.

          In the Tulsa Lynching men and women who survived, were still devastated. Not all of them did, but some of them would not forgive. The ones, who did not forgive, walked around with anger and hatred all their lives. The ones who forgave knew that they would feel better about it if they moved on. They forgave and that was a lot to do with them because they were treated awfully and it was wrong but that’s how they thought to handle it. The African-Americans were burned, and murdered in there own town.

          All of these perspectives on forgiveness matter. If you don’t forgive you are letting yourself believe that you don’t have the courage or power to believe in yourself. When all of this happened the survivors or anyone who was there for it tried to forgive which is not the easiest thing in the world to do. But in the end many realized that they couldn’t hold a grudge forever and if they let it build up inside they would never let out their feelings and feel better about themselves. Many people were effected by this, but they did forgive. They will never forget but they did forgive.



"If we really want to love
we must learn how to forgive"


~ Mother Theresa


What is the point in forgiveness? How can we forgive someone who has done something so wrong and mean? The reason that we forgive is to let what ever happened go, not to keep all that hatred in your self. We can learn about forgiveness through diaries, historic events, songs, written sources, quotes, and life experiences.

The song “Heart of the Matter” by the Eagle’s Don Henley tells us that forgiveness is the way of life. This song took Don practically his whole life to write it and about 4 minutes to sing it because it is so hard to figure out what forgiveness means, and when and how to use forgiveness. The song mostly talks about his girlfriend how she left him and he says that he will still forgive her even if she doesn’t love him any more. He tells us that forgiveness is teaching him how to live and go through this rough time and if you keep all of that anger in side of you it will eat you up in side. What he means by this is that you will be so mad so upset for so long you wont know how to live your life any longer.

          One of the most historic events that describes the power of forgiveness is “The Tulsa Lynching of 1921.” The whole thing started with the problem that whites thought that the blacks were so different than them, that the blacks did not deserve to live in this world. Then a mob broke out in Tulsa Oklahoma and started killing blacks taking their things and burning their houses. Although all of this happened when all of this was over and done with the surviving blacks joined around a pine tree in the center of town and sang Christmas songs. Even though all of this meanness  happened to them they still found enough truth in their heart and gut they found strength to try and forgive the whites. This tells us that even though they cared about their homes, they cared about their children and the future more, they where able to try and forgive the whites. The blacks couldn’t keep all of that hatred in side of them. They believed that the lord had done this to see how strong they where and even though something that terrible happened to you, you cant keep being upset about it because you will never go on and have a future.

          One of the best written sources I think is out of the book How To Really Love The One Your With under “Forgiveness what’s it for?” By Larry James. In his story he talks about his thoughts of forgiveness. He thinks that it is a gift you really give to your self it is not something you do for someone else. ‘It is like letting it go” he says. That’s exactly what I said also. He also states that “when some one does you wrong they apologize and ask you to forgive them. This is generally because they want you back into there life and if you say ok you have forgave them and have put it behind you and can move on with your life now. Some times forgiving is the greatest revenge because it is like your saying to them yeah whatever I don’t care what you did, thought, or said. Just like Isaac Friedman said “Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.” He means that if some one is trying to get you angry and you forgive them it is like you don’t care what they said about you or what ever they did it is coming around to bite them right in the but.

Mahatma Gandhi says in his quote “if we practice and eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth soon the whole world will be blind and toothless.” This helps explain forgiveness. “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong” this quote also by Mahatma Gandhi means that the weak can never forgive because the strong has enough power to forgive and let it go. The strong also have the power to move on. These quotes also deal with revenge. Most of the weak have a hard time because they might have problems with there life so in order for the weak to get all of that hatred out they have to be mean and get revenge on the people that have done something wrong to them.

In the diary of Ann frank Ann is a 14 year old Jewish girl who was part of the Holocaust and her and her family went into hiding while the Germans where breaking into peoples homes and forcing them to go with them get on a train and they are sent to concentration camps. Later after two and a half years of hiding they where found and sent to camps. And after all that horror that the Germans put through Ann forgave them and believed that they where still good at heart.

Forgiveness is a way to let every thing go and forget about every thing that has happened go. It also helps us move on and not let whatever happen hold us back from the future. And as Ann said in her diary “I think that all people are good at heart just afraid to show it. She is right because even though you or someone has done something wrong, and every one has done something wrong before. They can change and realize that they still have the power to do good in the world. As I have grown up through the years I have been told and I have realized that forgiveness is the way of life. I say that the more we forgive the faster we grow up. As my 8th grade social studies teacher Mr. Chase has always says “we have to grow up don’t let others make choices and don’t let others hold you back.” We have to learn to do all that we can do, work to our full potential and you can’t do that if you have hatred in side that keeps nagging you.



Forgiveness is an excuse to your own mistakes or faults.  It is important to forgive for yourself, and your choice to forgive should be a decision made by your heart.  Even though saying you’re going to forgive someone, and doing it is two different things, in the end, all your bottled up anger will soon be gone.  You can gain self-esteem and feel a lot better afterwards.  “Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Mark Twain.  This means that even though someone stepped on the violet, it still forgave him or her by shedding a fragrance on it.  You can learn about forgiveness from very powerful sources like articles, songs or lyrics, films, and quotes.

The quote, “ If we practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless,” by Mahatma Gandhi means that if we don’t practice forgiving and follow through with our forgiveness, then there would be no justice for ourselves.  If we never forgive for the sake of forgiving, then everyone could end up blind and toothless.

In the film, The Tulsa Lynching Act, there was a black man who slipped and fell, so the black man grabbed her so he would not fall on her, but she, Sarah Page, screamed.  But what started out as a harmless accident turned into a huge lie from yellow journalism.  The article went in the newspaper, and it said that the black man, who fell, assaulted the white young girl.  But then after this, a riot broke out and 100’s of blacks and whites died, giving an approximate total of around 300 that died.  But, around 800 citizens were admitted to a hospital.  Toward the end of the film, the blacks, all gathered around a Christmas tree and sang carols.  A leader of the black community stated, “There is no room in our hearts for hatred,” and in the end, it proved that everyone was just happy to be alive and was with their family and friends.  The forgiveness shown was very powerful for the whites and the blacks.  We can learn that there are no reasons to hate while we could be forgive.

 The excerpts from the article, “Forgiveness…What’s it for?” discusses facts about how forgiveness is NOT complicated; and that it’s simple.  People have many misconceptions about forgiveness; they think, “The belief that forgiving the offense, means the you can condone it.”  But that is not true.  We can only forgive “for what we know is wrong.”  Forgiveness can also be the key to a better future if you forgive for yourself, and only yourself.

Don Henley wrote a very powerful song called, “The Heart of the Matter.”  It took Henley his whole life to write the song, and only 4 minutes to sing it.  This song was a chance to remember a lost love.  The lines in the song that are important are, “ I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter, but everything changes, and my friends begin to scatter, But I think its about Forgiveness.”  These lines from the song are I feel, the most emotional and powerful because he says that even though his friends leave and everything changes; he is still trying to forgive.  That’s what is a key lesson, that no matter how much your world is changing you still need to forgive and, “ Put it all behind you; because life will go on.”

 “Forgiveness is a letting go.  It is freeing of you.”  One quote by Lessons for Living is very powerful and may change your opinion on Forgiveness.  “The forgiveness choice is, do you want to be bitter or better?  Keep holding on to the pain and you will be bitter.  Make a better choice, and let go.  Learn and try to be a more forgiving person.” “Forgiveness is a truth in this world that needs more practice, appreciation and application in our lives”.  Whenever you say, “you will never forgive.”  Then about 60 seconds later who is feeling bad, or hurt, is the answer,” You?” 


What does it mean to forgive? To forgive is to heal and help you, not some one else. The main thing to be gained is that what happened won’t hold you back as you get older and move on. Think about this, will you waste any more time being mad at something that happened in the past. Even if the other person doesn’t forgive you, you do it for yourself. Forgiveness can change the out come of your life. You also have to choose to forgive. You can’t just say you forgive when you are still angry. There are a lot of documents on forgiveness. There are songs, documents, quotes, and movies that are all on the same subject.

“If the world practices an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Soon the world will be blind and toothless.” This quote is by Mahatma Gandhi. An eye for an eye means to get revenge against somebody, same as a tooth for a tooth means to get revenge as well. It means that if we keep trying to get revenge that will make it so there is no forgiveness in the world, so we just live on revenge and nothing else. We would teach our children nothing but hatred. This would defiantly change the way we would look at the world if all we did were get revenge. We would just be held back our whole life. We wouldn’t be able to move forward. Anne Frank said that she believed everybody had some good in them no matter what they did to other people. And that was during the Holocaust when they did nothing but kill because the Nazis believed that the Jews weren’t perfect. Hitler wanted to create the perfect race and he thought that the Jews were preventing that.

Don Henley’s Song “The Heart of the Matter” is all about forgiveness. It’s telling about a man who lost his girlfriend to some other guy. He thinks about all the problems they went through together even though she left him. But he forgives himself for losing her to someone else. When he was trying to figure out what happened he kept coming back to forgiveness. He thinks that he has to learn some things all over again. “There’s a yearning undefined and people filled with rage.” How can you love some one when all you think about is rage and nothing else? He must have had some rage when his girlfriend left him for someone else that he didn’t know.

The Tulsa lynching had a lot to do with forgiveness. People where killed if they were black. Some veterans thought that if they wear their uniforms from a World War 1 they would be spared. But they were shot down right in front of their houses where they stood. Once they were dead the whites that shot them went inside and stole everything of value and then burned the house down. When the Tulsa lynching was finished it was almost Christmas. Children were shot along with their mothers and fathers. When people wanted to rebuild their houses government said they had to be 100% fireproof. It was like the government was blaming everything on the blacks. The government sold the land even when the blacks still owned the land them selves. When Christmas did come around all the blacks gathered around the Christmas tree. One man said to the other blacks that their was no room in their hearts for hatred against the ones that did them wrong. The adults had a harder time forgiving because they wanted to pass everything they had down to their children but they couldn’t do that when everything was burned. They also wanted to have their children run their businesses when they grew up. Some parents made it when their children were killed. One mother had a stillborn child the day before. She never was able to bury her child because she lost the box the baby was in during the time they were trying to escape. This teaches us that you can have forgiveness no matter what a person or people did to you. But some people might not be able to forgive what happened to their families. We can learn that people are mean sometimes, but not all the time and that they can be forgiven.

 Larry James tries to explain what forgiveness is in his article “Forgiveness…What’s it for?” “We often think that we need to be asked for forgiveness,” is what he says. The person who wronged you should be offered forgiveness and not the other way around. That is what forgiveness is about. Peace of mind is a gift that you can give yourself when you forgive someone or something. People think you should ask for forgiveness. You ask if you are willing to waste everything you have further on the matter on something that happened when you thought it was wrong when the other person thought differently. A better future is the thing you have when you forgive. A challenge for most people is to forget all destructive thoughts. You grow confidence when you survive through a lot of pain that another person caused. Whether the person who wronged you wants you back, apologizes, or changes his or her way is what most people think forgiveness is. The other person will have control over you if you don’t forgive. Non-Forgiveness keeps you in a struggle when you are willing you to forgive you bring peace to your mind. Forgiveness gives you hope and strength for the future.

“Forgiveness is the sweetest revenge.” This quote was by Isaac Friedman. The best revenge is when you forgive when the other person wants you to get angry. When you forgive they react and it is the best reaction that is the best revenge anyone can get. Imagine their faces when they find out you won’t go on in the matter. I think it’s the best reaction when they get angry with you. Thomas Szasz said, “The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” The stupid are held back with the thought of revenge and nothing of. The naïve forgive but they forget what happened then they become victims from the same person. 

Forgiveness is important because it can lead to peace of mind and a better future. You can also move forward in your life. Non-forgiveness is the enemy because it holds you back. People can hurt you, as many times as they want, but if you forgive, the other person doesn’t have power over you. They could probably kill someone by accident if you stay angry with someone for to long. Or something else that is bad could happen. If you never learn to forgive you will be stuck in the past for the rest of your life and never learn about what good you can learn from the world or the people around you. The things that can be learned from forgiveness are that you never know what good it can do you unless you do it. Anne Frank can teach us a lot about forgiveness. Anne did a lot of forgiving when she was alive. She forgave the Nazis even though they were the ones that killed her during the Holocaust. They killed almost everybody in her family except her father. I don’t think I could forgive someone who killed my family even if it was an accident, but I would at least try to forgive them. Forgiveness is an important thing in your life. You should keep it that way.



Forgiveness means a lot of different things to different people. To some people forgiveness does not mean that you have to reconcile with someone who badly treated you. To forgive isn’t an easy thing. It takes time and empathy. To forgive is a very powerful choice that you can make. You can learn about Forgiveness from songs, movies, poems, quotes, and articles.

          You can learn a lot about forgiveness from a song. The song “ The Heart of the Matter” by Mike Cambell, Don Henley, and J.D. Souther describes that forgiveness doesn’t mean that you have to love that person again, but it does mean that you should just go on with your life and not worry a lot about what happened. In the song it states that if you don’t let your anger go and you carry it on with you it will eat you up inside, for example if you are angry it hurts other people around you.  Forgiveness means a lot of things, In some cases it means that you have to like that person again and let everything go, and then in another case you just have to be nice to that person and try to forget about it but not fully forget about it. When you say that you forgive somebody it takes a lot of empathy, power, and choices.

          You can learn a lot about forgiveness from movies. The Tulsa Lynching of 1921:  A Hidden Story is one of the movies that explains what forgiveness means, in the movie it explains that the worst of things can happen like homes being  burned to the ground, women and children were killed,  dead bodies were dragged behind cars and they were hung from light posts, but people still learn to leave it behind them. In the movie, everyone has a very hard time forgiving because of the horrible things that happened but some people learned to forgive and not let it eat them up inside. In the movie a leader of the black community says “There is no room in our hearts for hatred.” That quote means that you shouldn’t carry hatred on forever but you should carry on happiness.

             Mahatma Gandhi once said, “ If we practice an eye for eye and a tooth for a tooth, soon the whole world will be blind and toothless”. This quote means that you need to forgive so you don’t lose everything. If you don’t forgive then you will never be forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself not to someone else.  Forgiveness is something that lies in your heart, not just some thought in your head.

 The purpose of forgiveness is to make somebody that did something bad feel that everything is okay and that they can move on with their lives. You can also learn to forgive yourself if you do something bad, and you feel horrible about it. If you forgive yourself you can move on with your life also.  Forgiveness makes you imagine a better future for yourself.  We only forgive what we know to be not okay, If we know that something is okay then we don’t have to forgive anyone.

          Forgiveness overall is a very good thing. Everyone feels good after someone has forgiven them.  Everyone doesn’t need to forgive but if you don’t forgive then you need to move on with your life.  Forgiveness builds confidence, and it makes you believe that you can survive the pain and you can grow from it.  Forgiveness is more than saying sorry. Forgiveness comes from the heart. When you forgive someone you suddenly feel a relief, everyone wants to feel that way.


“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”


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