Archive for September, 2012

Thirteen Days Before Her First Birthday, Girl Killed, Parents Forgive

The Kansas City Star – 11-month old Autumn Nicole Humphrey, while being held by her grandfather, was struck by the out-of-control car of an 88-year-old driver and she was killed. As the Rev. Tiger Pennington prepared to conduct her funeral, he heard something that restored his strength–and moved him to tears.

Autumn Humphrey’s parents asked to meet with the 88-year-old man who was driving the car.

Then they forgave him, Pennington told reporters Saturday outside the First Baptist Church of North Kansas City, and they asked him to sit with the family during the service.

Read more about this extraordinary act of forgiveness: Forgiveness flows at girl’s funeral after church accident.

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Unwanted Forgiveness

Have you ever forgiven someone who punctuated your gift with, “OK…..What for?”

It can be unsettling and more than a little annoying. So, if the other person does not want your forgiveness, for whatever reason, is it better to withhold it rather than give it?

Perhaps the answer lies in how one gives forgiveness rather than in the questioning of whether or not to offer it. After all, forgiveness is a virtue, a gift of goodness to another who has been unfair. Even if he perceives that the actions were justified, and therefore forgiveness is unnecessary, your forgiving is a gift.

You can offer forgiveness without telling the other, but instead by showing it. The other is not likely to reject kindness, but even if she did, kindness is always good.

Unwanted forgiveness? Sometimes people do not know what is good for them, so we give it in ways that are more acceptable to them. Forgiveness as an act of virtue is always good.

Dr. Bob

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I just came up with this idea of “future-forgiveness” this week, after almost three decades of thinking daily about forgiveness. I think it is an important idea.

By “future-forgiveness” I mean an attitude you cultivate in moving into the future. As you forgive people for past injustices, forgiveness comes to be a part of you. You begin to see that you can love those who are cruel to you, and if you can do that, then you can love those who are interacting pretty well with you. Then you come to realize that this is how you can live your life—loving others as a way of life—no matter what life throws at you.

“Future-forgiveness”—committing to going into your future with love for others no matter how they treat you—is a joyous way to live.

Dr. Bob

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A Person Is a Person No Matter How Wounded

As you meet people today, please look at each one and say to yourself, “This particular person is probably wounded in some way. He (she) is not showing the wounds, but is trying to get through the day with these wounds…and they probably hurt.”

And then add this: “A person is a person, no matter how wounded.”

And one more thing, please be sure to say this silently about yourself.

Enjoy seeing the personhood in all.

Dr. Bob

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Family Forgives Man Who Allegedly Shot the One Who Sought Community Peace, Panama City, FL. The Gant family today mourned the loss of Everett, a husband and father of one child, who passed away on Monday from a gunshot wound. In July, Everett approached the home of a man who allegedly used racial slurs. Everett’s intention was to help–specifically to talk with the man in the hope of ending his statements which hurt many in the community. The man allegedly shot Everett, who lost his battle for life on September 17.

Everett’s uncle, Cas Gant, told a News 13 reporter that as the family mourns, it also forgives. “We forgive as a family. That’s just who we are. We’ve had this discussion many times, but in the midst of that discussion, we forgive.”

On July 30th, Everett Gant approached the apartment of 59 year old Walton Butler in the Pine Ridge Complex of Port St. Joe, FL, to discuss racial slurs Butler allegedly made to children in the community.

It would be Gant’s final act of bravery. He was shot at the apartment and died from that gunshot wound on Monday.

In the months since the shooting, many have asked why Everett Gant confronted Butler. According to Cas Gant, Everett’s uncle, it’s just who his nephew was.

“That’s who he was. To know that he was going to help, that he spent his whole life doing that…we wouldn’t expect anything else,” said Gant.

Read more about the family’s act of forgiveness: Remembering Everett: Gant Family Honors Life, Discusses Forgiveness.

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