When words fail or time is short, you can say most things by simply inserting an emoji. But one thing these quirky symbols can’t yet translate are the words “I forgive you.”
This may be about to change thanks to a campaign by a group of peacemaking charities from Finland, led by the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church.
“The campaign highlights the importance of forgiveness and peace. Peace is not possible without forgiveness.”
The #forgivemoji campaign is aiming to create a new emoji that signifies forgiveness by inviting members of the public to submit and vote for the emoji that best represents this idea to them.
After the winning design is chosen in November, the campaign leaders will pitch it to Unicode Consortium, which manages all emojis (as well as other text characters) used on smartphones worldwide. They hope this will bring a forgiveness emoji to a device near you.
According to the campaign website: “There are currently 3019 different emoji. There are a cat, an astronaut, a magnet and three different vampires. But there are no emojis in the selection that say ‘I’ll forgive you’.”
“This #forgivemoji campaign wants to change [that]. The campaign highlights the importance of forgiveness and peace. Peace is not possible without forgiveness.”
“The idea for this campaign came during our Year of Peace. We hope the campaign will inspire different people to join the discussion,” said Tuomo Pesonen, Senior Vice President, Communications, for the Evangelical Lutheran Church Council.
Pesonen also said he was “delighted that several partners are already excited about the campaign”, including Finn Church Aid, the Deaconess Institute of Helsinki, eco-footwear company the People’s Movement and independent conflict-resolution organisation Crisis Management Initiative.
The campaign’s reach is small so far, with just over 2000 people signing on to support it and fewer than 80 followers on Instagram.
While the idea is worthy, perhaps the lack of traction suggests that many subscribe to the model of forgiveness laid down by God when he sent his only Son – that forgiveness is something best done in person.