Archive for May, 2013

Mother of Gina DeJesus Says She Forgives Kidnapper

New York Daily News – The mother of Gina DeJesus says she has forgiven Ariel Castro, the man accused of imprisoning DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight as sex slaves for more than a decade.

Asked by ABC’s 20/20 what she would offer the accused kidnapper, DeJesus’ mother, Nancy Ruiz, said, “”I would hug him and I would say, ‘God bless you.’ I would say, ‘God bless you,’ and I’d hug him. I did not hate him. I forgave him years ago. I said it: I forgive whoever done it, just let her go.”

Ruiz and Castro have known each other for years, having grown up in the same neighborhood. They would even run into each other occasionally with Castro always offering support to Ruiz and asking her how she was holding up without DeJesus–all the while allegedly keeping her  locked away as a sex slave.

But these disconcerting encounters and years with her daughter stolen away are not enough, Ruiz said, for her to hate another person.

“When you start to hate a person, that eats you up,” she said. “I don’t have time for that. I have to be, you know, I want to be happy, like I am now.”

Read the full story: Mother of Gina DeJesus says she forgives Ariel Castro.”

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Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness. Only the brave will be able to forgive. Then, how about seeking forgiveness? When do you seek forgiveness? Is seeking forgiveness a good way to attempt reconciliation? Is it appropriate to seek forgiveness, even when you’re not sure what you did wrong, so that reconciliation might become possible between the two?

Seeking forgiveness and forgiving are both part of the pathway to reconciliation. You ask an intriguing question: What if the other is offended by me and I truly think I have done nothing wrong? We recommend saying something like this: “I am sorry that I hurt you when I did X. Would you please consider forgiving me for this?” As you can see, you are not admitting guilt, but instead you are expressing a truth that you feel badly that he or she was hurt by your actions. This may start the process of reconciliation.

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Correction Chief’s Widow Offers Forgiveness


Fox 21 News, Colorado Springs, CO – The wife of Colorado’s slain corrections director says he would want justice to be served in his case but would also want forgiveness.

Tom Clements, director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was gunned down as he answered his front door in Monument, north of Colorado Springs, in late March. Days later, Lisa Clements spoke at a memorial service for her husband.

Joined by her two daughters, she told mourners that her husband lived his life believing in redemption. “Our family prays for the family of the man who took Tom’s life. And as for the girls and me, we’ll pray for forgiveness in our own hearts and for peace.”

Watch the TV news broadcast: “Correction chief’s widow says husband would want forgiveness.”

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On Evil…..Its Perpetuation….and Its Destruction

What is evil? Is it a thing, something in existence? Is it the opposite of good?

Good appears to be embodied in being, in people for example. Goodness has a quality of a thing, something that exists in being. If evil is the opposite of good, then it too exists as a thing in being.

If evil exists as a thing, then God does not exist. Why? Because if God exists and is good, then evil cannot be created and exist, otherwise God is not good. In other words, if God creates evil then we are mistaken that the creator is all good and therefore we are mistaken about the creator-as-creator.

We have four possibilities: 1) God exists and has created evil (a contradiction and so we can dismiss this one); 2) God exists and has not created evil (although it can exist, just not as a created thing); 3) God does not exist (as monotheism describes God) and evil exists as a thing (as goodness exists as a thing). In this case we have a form of ancient Manichaeism which suggested a struggle between good (as a spiritual thing, but not with the attributes of the monotheistic God) and evil (as a material thing). Augustine of Hippo eventually came to dismiss this premise because this way of living condoned evil (after all, if it exists alongside good, and defines the physical world, it cannot be all that bad); or 4) neither exists.

So, the two premises with the fewest contrary or contradictory aspects are #2 and 4: God exists and evil is not a thing (a creation of a good creator), or God does not exist (with the attributes as outlines by monotheistic theology) and evil does not exist other than perhaps as an illusion.

We will develop point #2 and allow atheists/materialists to voice their view in #4.

If evil is not a thing, then what is it? Augustine of Hippo solved this problem (of whether or not evil exists) by arguing that evil exists as the absence of good. It is not an opposite thing to good. Instead it is the absence of that which is good. (We are not saying that people are evil. Instead, we are interested in evil as evil and not as embodied or not in persons.)

If evil exists, then, how does it continue to exist? How is it perpetuated? I think evil continues to exist as viruses continue to exist: Each has to seek a host on which to prey to continue in existence. In other words, evil must somehow (the mechanism of this need not concern us here) have an effect upon good so that it ceases to be good or at least fully good. It invades good, in a certain sense. (As a virus cannot be 100% effective in destroying all hosts lest it become extinguished, evil cannot be 100% effective lest it has no more hosts).

To continue to exist, a virus then needs to continually inhabit other hosts. Evil, then, must go from the goodness in one being to another being. Evil has to spread to continue in existence.

I think that resentment is a primary mechanism for evil to continually find new hosts in which to exist. Why? Because resentment is the seed of rage and revenge. If we can destroy the mechanism by which evil seeks new hosts, then evil is destroyed (because it no longer can jump from host to host, as a virus does.)

Forgiveness is the means by which resentment no longer exists. Forgiveness, therefore, destroys the pathway of evil from one person to another. Forgiveness stops the spread of the disease of evil as sound hygiene stops the spread of viruses.

Forgiveness not only provides the mechanism by which evil no longer can spread from host to host but also forgiveness stops the effects of evil within any one host (person). Forgiveness eradicates the resentment (with its concomitant anger, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and hopelessness) destroying the effects of evil.

Forgiveness, then, has a vital role to play in destroying both evil itself and the effects of evil.

Long live forgiveness. Is forgiveness a thing?  We will ponder this one another time. Well, ok, here is the answer: Good exists as a thing. Forgiveness is part of the good. Therefore, forgiveness exists as a thing. If forgiveness exists as a thing, then what is it? From the viewpoint of monotheistic theology, it is an attribute of God and is therefore a thing. Atheists, you may come in with a different viewpoint, which we will respectfully consider.


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Documentary Highlights Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue and Reconciliation

A just-released documentary, “Two-Sided Story,” highlights the power and possibility of dialogue and reconciliation among Israelis and Palestinians. The new film was produce by American Friends of the Parents Circle-Families Forum, a Middle East-based nonprofit that brings together Israeli and Palestinian bereaved families. View the trailer.

The film – directed by Emmy Award winner Tor Ben Mayor – tells the story of 27 Palestinians and Israelis who meet through a Parents Circle project and begin to explore the experiences and narratives held by the “other side.” By listening deeply to one another’s personal stories, rather than arguing over political views, these participants slowly begin to connect and see each other as people first, rather than enemies.

The American Friends of the Parents Circle is committed to holding 100 screenings of Two Sided Story in synagogues, churches, mosques, colleges, schools, community groups, dialogue groups and living rooms all over the U.S. For more information, please email Shiri Ourian at

The Parents Circle – Families Forum is an organization made up of over 600 bereaved families, half Israeli and half Palestinian. Since 1994, the members of this organization – all of whom have lost a family member to the conflict – have undertaken a joint effort in the midst of ongoing violence to transform their incredible loss and pain into a catalyst for reconciliation and peace.

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