Archive for November, 2012

Man Serving 40-Year Sentence Is Forgiven by Woman Who Lost Her Family

Idaho Statesman – Nine years ago, a man who was not a drinker, became intoxicated, traveled 98-miles-per hour down the wrong side of the road, and killed Natalie Marti’s husband and infant daughter. She, too, sustained serious injuries requiring 3 years of patient healing. Despite all of this, Natalie offered forgiveness to Edgar Vasquez, currently serving a 40-year sentence for the crime. Mr. Vasquez’s life has changed considerably, and for the better, because of this bold act of forgiveness.

Read the full story, “Fatal DUI crash shows both sides of forgiveness.”

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“I Forgive You” – True Stories of Forgiveness

In an effort to facilitate healing through forgiveness, the gmc television network will air a documentary series called “I Forgive You” that premieres Nov. 18.

This emotional, uplifting and compelling series provides individuals the opportunity to forgive someone who has hurt them or a loved one. Whether the affliction is physical or emotional–the murder of a family member, an estranged parent, or sibling, infidelity, or bullying–the series brings two parties together to try to facilitate healing, overcome hatred, anger and revenge from real-life traumatizing events. Each story will showcase the “forgiver” and the “receiver” of the forgiveness before, during and after an act of forgiveness.

“I don’t know of anywhere on television where you get to see the raw, gripping emotions that stem from the act of forgiveness,” Brad Siegel, gmc TV’s vice chairman said of the network’s first unscripted series.

According to Emmy-winning producer Arnold Shapiro, “Forgiveness has the drama of any Shakespearean play. There is suspense, emotion, drama, uncertainty…. tears.”
Siegel added, “Viewers will come away from “I Forgive You” feeling enriched, inspired and amazed at these true stories that show the best in human nature.”

The gmc channel is available on Dish Network on channel 188, on DIRECTV channel 338, Verizon FiOS channel 224 and on many local cable networks. Newsmagazine Hollywood Today outlines the series at “Forgiveness is a complicated gesture.” Channel Guide Magazine provides summaries of the stories in the Nov. 18 premiere at “Bullying, murder victims offer forgiveness in GMC’s ‘I Forgive You.'” Watch video outtakes from the series at the gmc (uplifting entertainment) website.

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Former Miss South Carolina Forgives Her Sister’s Killer

Statesville Record and Landmark, Statesville, NC – It would be easy to understand if Dawn Smith Jordan talked about sadness, anger, even vengeance.

Instead, the former Miss South Carolina chooses to speak of serenity, faith and forgiveness.

That was tough for Dawn to do at the age of 21 when her 17-year-old sister, Shari, was kidnapped from the driveway of her Lexington, S.C., home and murdered in 1985.

During the five days between the kidnapping and when her sister’s body was found, the killer called the Smiths eight times, each time talking with Dawn. He told her he planned on doing the same thing to her that he did to Shari.

Several years later, with the killer on death row, Dawn decided she needed to forgive. “You can’t live your life to the fullest if you’re stuck in unforgiveness,” she said.

Dawn said she learned about forgiveness from her mother. “She lost her daughter in a horrific manner and she forgave. She pressed on because she had two other children that needed her,” she said.

Dawn, who shares her forgiveness philosophy as a Christian singer, songwriter, author and speaker, is also the founder of Dawn Smith Jordan Ministries, Inc. According to her website, Dawn has learned “to not only forgive her sister’s murderer, but to daily choose forgiveness as a path to healing and wholeness. The brightest future will always be based not on a forgotten past, but on a forgiven past.”

Read more about Dawn’s decision to forgive: “Message of forgiveness buoys her, decades after tragedy” 0r visit her website

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Why Forgive?

Here are some reasons to forgive:

1) so that I will feel better.

2) so that the other person, in seeing mercy in me, might change course and start having mercy.

3) so that the one who offended me and I might reconcile.

4) so that I might be an example for others.

5) so that I can grow in the virtue of forgiving and become a forgiving person.

6) so that I can get proficient enough in this virtue to be able to pass it along to others.

7) just because. Extending goodness is good in and of itself.

Of all of these reasons, #7 shows the intrinsic beauty of forgiveness. All others also are honorable because they recognize the importance of persons and of relationships. Even #1 is a good reason and is not self-serving if I am trying to get better so that I can give goodness to others and not just to the self.

Which of the seven reasons describes you the best?

For more reasons why forgiveness is the right thing to do physically, spiritually and socially, visit the Why Forgive section of this website.

Dr. Bob

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Is there such a thing as preventive forgiveness in which we can practice forgiveness before we are deeply hurt by others?

This is an important question with deep implications for growing in the virtue of forgiveness. Aristotle reminded us that if we are ever to advance in the virtues, then we have to practice them regularly. What better way to advance in forgiveness than to forgive people daily for “the little things” even if we are not deeply hurt by them?

We have started preventive forgiveness education programs in Milwaukee’s central-city and in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The point of the programs is to help children understand and appreciate the virtue of forgiveness in the calm instructional setting of the classroom long before the stresses of adulthood come to visit. By being equipped with knowledge and appreciation of forgiveness as well as a familiarity of how to forgive, these children, when they are grown up, may face the challenges of life more successfully than those who do not yet know about forgiveness and might be at greater risk of excessive anger.

Read about our preventive forgiveness education programs in Milwaukee, “The Forgiving Child” and in Belfast,??“Waging Peace through Forgiveness in Belfast, Northern Ireland II.”??

You also might want to read in our Adult Forums section the topic entitled, The Little Things about Forgiveness. The discussion includes issues of prevention.

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