Archive for April, 2012
Leslie Sheppard Doame was a gentle woman who lived a “life full of love and sweetness and kindness” but spent her final moments pleading for her life, her mother told a Rankin County court.
But, facing the man who killed her 37-year-old daughter, Teresa Sheppard said she forgave him.
Before sentencing a man for murder, a judge said that the statement just made by the deceased’s mother was “the most gracious” he has ever heard in a courtroom. The mother proclaimed forgiveness for the murderer. Full story here.
What if it will create even more tension if you go to a person and say, “I forgive you.” Could this start a big argument if she is not ready to hear it?
The short answer is: Yes, you are correct. An argument could ensue after you proclaim your forgiveness. Yet, forgiveness does not have a rigid set of rules associated with it. A person can forgive without ever using the word “forgiveness” to the one forgiven. There are many ways to show and express forgiveness: with a smile, with a new attention to what a person is saying, with a returned phone call, with a kind word about the person to others. If you think that proclaiming, “I forgive you” will cause an argument, then either do not say those particular words or hold them until later, until the person may seem ready to hear them. Your forgiveness can be sincere without using those particular words. As a final point, your forgiveness can be complete from your end, not necessarily from the other person’s end, who may or may not accept your gift, as you forgive without words of forgiveness. It can be complete because you are showing compassion and concern for the person who was unfair to you.
Helpful Forgiveness Hint: Many people say that one of the most difficult aspects of the process of forgiveness is simply making the decision to go ahead and try it. Deciding to walk through the forgiveness door is hard because it deals with change, with commitment and both of these can be unsettling. We are starting a new path, a new way of approaching the world. Starting a new job or a new exercise program, or deciding to move to a new city can all be disruptive, but can lead to growth as a person. So, if you are feeling a little trepidation about your decision to forgive, know that you are not alone. And knowing that, I urge you to go ahead anyway, despite the initial discomfort.
MANILA, Philippines – Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo wished for healing and forgiveness for the nation this Holy Week and for her birthday tomorrow.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, called on her nation to unite in healing and forgiveness. Where there is now disunity, there can be political harmony if the people resolve to move together toward a brighter future.
In a statement issued from the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City where she is detained on charges of electoral sabotage before the Pasay City Regional Trial Court, she also prayed that the country be protected from disasters.
“To our countrymen, let us pray for forgiveness this Lenten season and continue to be inspired by the love bestowed on us by Jesus and the sacrifice He made to redeem our sins,” Arroyo said. “I wish that the turmoil and sadness caused by disunity would end.”
The forgiveness path is just one more obstacle to overcome along life’s tough road. A family member of mine was murdered. I cannot see forgiving this person. Even if I did, that process seems just as outrageously hard as sitting here with no recourse toward the murderer. Am I stuck either way, as a forgiver or as someone who cries out for justice but finds none (the murderer has not been caught)?
First of all, my sincere sympathy for the pain you are being asked to endure. No one should have to go through this. The fact that you are even asking about forgiveness is showing a heroism that I want you, yourself, to see. An important insight that you have is this: No matter what you choose, you will have pain. I would like to gently challenge one of your words: “stuck.” I can understand how you might feel stuck as someone who cries out for justice which is not forthcoming. You are not stuck, however, if you decide to forgive. I think you might be “stuck” right now because of indecision—Should you forgive or not? If you decide to go ahead, then you are no longer “stuck.” Yes, you will have pain because growth in forgiveness is painful. Yet, the pain of working through forgiveness is temporary. The pain of crying out for justice and not finding it may go on indefinitely. When you are ready to get un-stuck, please consider reading the book, The Forgiving Life. It helps you to grow in forgiving and to grow as a person of virtue—strong and even thriving in the face of great pain. I wish you the very best in your journey toward healing.