Archive for December, 2013

Widow Forgives Man Who Killed Her Soldier Husband

MailOnline, London, England – The widow of a former decorated soldier who was killed by a single punch during an early-morning fight over a taxi has offered her complete forgiveness to his killer.

David Ryding, 26, died after being knocked out by Ben Hartwell, 22, on July 7 during a heated argument while the pair waited at a taxi stand in Rugby, Warwickshire. The recently married father-of-one, who left active duty in 2011, hit his head on the  ground after being struck by Hartwell. He died in a hospital the following day. An inquest into his death determined that Hartwell acted in self-defense and no charges were filed.

Following the inquest, Ryding’s widow Nicola requested a meeting with Hartwell where she told him she did not blame him and wanted him to move forward with his life. 

“Our family and Mr. Hartwell’s family have been deeply affected by the events which took place and just hope that if any good can come from this tragedy, it is that awareness will be raised regarding the tragic results an instantaneous event such as this can lead to,” Nicola Ryding said. “Our thoughts are with Mr. Hartwell and all his family and we hope he can come to terms with what happened and move on with his life.”

“David will be in our hearts forever and live on in the wonderful memories we shared,” she added. “We are satisfied that the inquest was  conducted thoroughly and we respect the verdict made.”

Read the full story: Widow’s extraordinary forgiveness towards the man who killed her soldier husband.

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Once Again Bullying Behavior Destroys a Life

BBC News reports that bullying behavior has claimed yet another victim, Izzy Dix, age 14, who apparently killed herself after struggling with cyber bullying.  This kind of tragedy must end.  We at the IFI just recently have published an Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program focused on helping those who bully to forgive. You see, those who bully usually have pent-up anger…..and they displace their own wounds onto others. Our program is meant to take the anger out of the heart of those who bully so that they no longer bully others. Here is information on that life-giving program, which we hope gets into as many schools, internationally, as possible.

What is particularly sad is that we posted a very similar blog in October of 2012….and the tragedies continue.


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Worth-less or Worth-more?

“As we continually live with love withdrawn from us and a resulting resentment (with the short-term consequences of thinking with a negative pattern, thinking specific condemning thoughts, and acting poorly), we can settle into a kind of long-term distortion of who the love-withdrawing person is, who we ourselves are, and who people are in general. The basic issue here is that once love is withdrawn from us, we can begin to withdraw a sense of worth toward the one who hurt us. The conclusion is that he or she is worth-less. Over time, we can drift into the dangerous conclusion, ‘I, too, am worthless.’ After all, others have withdrawn love from me and have concluded that I lack worth, therefore I do lack worth. Even later, we can drift into the unhealthy conclusion that there is no love in the world and so no one really has any worth, thus everyone is worth-less.” Excerpt from the book, The Forgiving Life, Chapter 1.


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Nelson Mandela and the Power of Forgiveness

The Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, Iowa), hosted a “Nelson Mandela Tribute” on Dec. 9. One of the speakers at the Tribute was Suzanne Freedman, Ph.D., Professor of Educational Psychology and Foundations at UNI. Here is an excerpt from her presentation:

Nelson Mandela was not full of rage and violence when released from prison after 27 years. He developed a vision while in prison, a vision that we are all in this together and that violence is not the solution.  He showed the people in his country and the world that revenge is not the answer to years of injustice and mistreatment.  He showed generosity and mercy when he could have shown revenge and bitterness. He decided not to avenge himself on those who treated him with such cruelty.

He transformed in prison and realized the humanity in all people, even those he fought against. He stood against apartheid and managed to change a nation without violence and hatred. His actions demonstrated great strength and courage as well as moral principles. He was able to sit down with his enemies and plan a better future for South Africa. He is said to have saved South Africa from civil war and lead a nation to democracy. 

Nelson Mandela’s actions showed his people that forgiveness was possible and as a result, gave the people in South Africa hope for a better future.

Read Dr. Freedman’s full presentation Nelson Mandela and the Power of Forgiveness. Dr. Freedman is a Contributing Writer and Researcher for the International Forgiveness Institute.

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A Specific Forgiveness Exercise for Couples

Those of you who have the absolute perfect spouse, please raise you hand……anyone?

Now, those of you who are the absolute perfect spouse, please raise your hand…..I see no hands up.

OK, so we have established that we are not perfect and neither is our partner. Yet, we can always improve. Note carefully that I am not suggesting that you read this to improve your partner. I write it to improve you, the reader.

Here is a little exercise that I recommend for any couple. Together, talk out the hurts that you received in your family of origin, where you grew up. Let the other know of your emotional wounds. This exercise is not meant to cast blame on anyone in your family of origin. Instead, the exercise is meant for each of you to deepen your insight into who your partner is. Knowing his wounds is one more dimension of knowing him as a person. As you each identify the wounds from your past, try to see what you, personally are bringing into the relationship from that past. Try to see what your partner is bringing in.

Now, together, work on forgiving those from your family of origin who have wounded you. Support one another in the striving to grow in the virtue of forgiveness. The goal is to wipe the resentment-slate clean so that you are not bringing those particular wounds to the breakfast table (and lunch table and dinner table) every day. Then, when you are finished forgiving those family members from the past, work on forgiving your partner for those wounds brought into your relationship, and at the same time, seek forgiveness from him or her for the woundedness you bring to your relationship. Then, see if the relationship improves. All of this is covered in greater depth in my new book, The Forgiving Life.


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