Van Jones Says His Faith Has Been Challenged Because of the Lack of Empathy in the World But Filming “The Redemption Project” Showed Him the Importance of Forgiveness and Mercy

Van Jones admitted his faith had been challenged because of the lack of empathy in the world. Shooting his new show, “The Redemption Project” on CNN, revealed to him that forgiveness and mercy are what the world needs.

The new CNN original series, called “The Redemption Project with Van Jones,” premieres April 28 and will highlight the “transformative power” of forgiveness, healing and grace. In it, Jones will give viewers a front seat to the “restorative justice” process by following “victims, or surviving family members, of a life-altering crime as they journey to meet face-to-face with their offender in the hopes of finding answers or some sense of healing.”

The new eight-part program will premiere with the first-ever meeting between a victim and an offender in the history of Alaska’s prison system. According to, the meeting is between Terria Walters, a mother whose son was killed during a drug deal gone bad, and convicted killer Joshua Beebe. Watch an exclusive first look at the episode below:

Jones was raised in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and works as a guide in the series for the viewer throughout the life-changing experiences that take place. Below is an edited transcript of an interview between Jones and The Christian Post where he talks about why he wanted to create the show and the role faith played on both sides throughout the journey of forgiveness.

Christian Post: How has it been for you dealing with the theme of forgiveness? Did people rely on their faith to get to that point of forgiveness in “The Redemption Project”?

Jones: I can tell you that nine out of 10 times in this series, people’s faith was a big factor, really on both sides of the table. We’re talking to people who have done really bad things who want to make amends, and we film those people and then we turn around and we talked to people that they’ve hurt or all too often the surviving family members. We talked to them, and then we film them talking to each other for the first time. It’s very powerful. If you have any money, I invite people to invest in the Kleenex Corp because if this show catches on there’s going to be a lot of Kleenex sold in America.

What I can say, when it’s all said and done, like I said nine times out of 10, it took faith on both parties’ part to sit down together. Then for me, I’ve been really challenged in my faith over these past several years, as I’m just watching forgiveness and empathy and caring and compassion just exit the culture. It is now become so trendy to have no empathy, no respect of blocking people on social media, canceling people; it’s an epidemic. I wanted to go 180 degrees the other direction and show people, who if anybody should cancel anybody, it would be the mother who lost her child. And to see that person sit down and be willing to look in the eyeballs with somebody and try to have that conversation I thought was medicine that the culture needed.

CP:  You had to sit down with people who were responsible for murders, people that had to walk through really difficult situations. How was it for you questioning those people?

Jones: I’ve been in and out of prisons for 25, working in criminal justice, working as a lawyer, working as an activist, so I know the truth that people sometimes go into prison being one way, very misguided, very wrong, or very arrogant, not wanting to take any responsibility then over the course of 10, 15, 20 years, not because of the prison system but despite it, can transform into some of the wisest and strongest people I’ve ever met.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law