Archive for November, 2012
Part of being a forgiving person is to know the forgiveness process and to practice it. As you understand that process more and more and become comfortable with it, you will find that this is a good beginning to being a forgiving person. At the same time, practice and feeling comfortable with this practice is not enough to transform yourself into a genuinely forgiving person. You will need to begin to foster a sense of deep connection with forgiveness. As an analogy, people can spend their whole lives working at a job or a profession but not really connect in a deep way with it. “I am someone who goes into nursing homes, does what I am told, and gets a paycheck,” is one way to see oneself. “I am someone who serves the elderly. That is not just what I do. It is a part of who I am.” This thought is much deeper than the first one. Can you begin practicing forgiveness regularly and deeply enough so that it becomes a part of you?
Enright, Robert D. (2012-07-05). The Forgiving Life (APA Lifetools) (Kindle Locations 1534-1542). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.
WXYZ-TV, Southfield, MI – Just before the end of his shift on Sunday, Sept. 9, Police Officer Patrick O’Rourke responded with his fellow officers to a domestic dispute case. Minutes later, he lay dead–shot and killed by Ricky Coley, a heavily-armed man who held off the other officers for nearly 24-hours before surrendering. Officer O’Rourke left behind a wife and four young children.
During a television interview this week, Amy O’Rourke said she felt strongly that her husband forgives the shooter. Asked if she is able to forgive yet, Amy responded,
“Oh yes, almost immediately really. To not forgive just hurts us, I think when you carry un-forgiveness, it just makes you sick, physically, emotionally, mentally. And that’s why God wants us to forgive people, because he knows it’s going to affect who we are and how we feel. We have to let go of that stuff, give it up to him.”
Read more and watch the television interview with Amy and her children: “The family of Patrick O’Rourke shares their heartache, hope and forgiveness.”
As we practice the love of forgiveness, don’t be surprised if that love spills over into other areas of your life. Here is one heart warming story that a friend, who practices forgiveness daily, told to me:
“When I was riding my bike yesterday, a homeless woman was pushing a shopping cart that contained, in all likelihood, all of her worldly possessions. I stopped and said, ‘Excuse me…’ She looked afraid and startled, which is typical in the homeless world because people usually hurt them rather than help them. Then I said to her, ‘Would you please do me a favor and hold this for me?’ I then put a $20 bill in her hand. She looked at the money and started to laugh….and then I laughed. And she thanked me and had very soft eyes toward me. I then continued the ride…..with a warmer heart than when I started out.”
The Daily Mirror, London, England – A grieving mother whose son was stabbed to death by gang members has pledged to sell her family heirlooms to give his killers a better life.
Fatemah Golmakani’s son, Milad, was ambushed by four gang members last April while he was playing soccer in London, England. The 22-year-old was knifed 14 times and left to die. His four killers — three 19-year-olds and one 17-year-old — were all jailed last month and will be serving between 19 and 22 years before release.
The mother of four has vowed to open a charity in Milad’s memory to not only support other troubled teenagers and gang members, but also to help his son’s killers while they are imprisoned and when they get out. She said she plans to fund the charity by selling her diamond earrings, her grandmother’s watch and a crystal chandelier that has been in her family for more than 200 years.
“This charity will be a present to the killers,” Golmakani said. “I want to replace their knives and guns with flowers. I want to bring their humanity back even if my son is gone.”
Though Golmakani admits that she was once bitter and angry about her son’s untimely death, she says she has learned that forgiveness is the greatest remedy for grief.
Read the full story, “Mum of knife victim plans to sell off heirlooms to help son’s killers.”
In a recent story in our Forgiveness News section, “Forgiving Muammar Gaddafi for the Lockerbie Bombing,” we reported on Lisa Gibson, whose brother died in the Lockerbie, Scotland airplane bombing (Pan Am 103). She attempted to forgive both Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, the only one convicted in the case, and Muammar Gaddafi, suspected to have masterminded the plot.
Both denied any connection with the bombing. Now what? How should Lisa Gibson deal with the forgiveness? Does she withdraw the attempt until at least one of them admits to wrongdoing of some kind, either planning or carrying out the deed? Does she go ahead anyway?
What should you do when you are about to forgive someone who denies any wrongdoing?
It seems to us that the first step is to take a little step backward and ask: Am I correct here in thinking that this person (or people) acted unjustly toward me? Of course, one need not have the kind of evidence required by a court of law because you are not being the judge over this person. You are not sentencing him or her to prison.
If, upon further reflection, you conclude that the person was unjust to you, then we recommend that you go ahead anyway, despite any howls of opposition from the person. Further, you need not tell him or her that you have forgiven. You can do so from the heart and then demonstrate your forgiveness by how you interact with or talk about the person.
The bottom line is this: You should not be held captive by another’s denial of wrongdoing. If your reflection leads you to conclude that he or she was unjust to you, then go ahead. Forgiveness is about freedom, including the freedom to make your own decisions about whom and when to forgive.