Archive for May, 2015

Checking in Again Regarding Your Unfolding Love Story

In March of 2014, we posted a reflection here in which we encouraged you to grow in love as your legacy of 2014.

The challenge was this: Give love away as your legacy of 2014.

Our challenge to you now is this: Give love away as your legacy of 2015.

One way to start is by looking backward at one incident of 2015 so far. Please think of one incident with one person in which you were loved unconditionally, perhaps even surprised by a partner or a parent or a caring colleague.

Think of your reaction when you felt love coming from the other and you felt love in your heart and the other saw it in your eyes. What was said? How were you affirmed for whom you are, not necessarily for something you did? What was the other’s heart like, and yours?

Can you list some specific, concrete ways in which you have chosen love over indifference? Love over annoyance? If so, what are those specifics and how are they loving? We ask because 2015 will be 50% over as we move through June. Have you engaged in 50% of all the loving responses that you will leave in this world this year?

Tempus fugit. If you have not yet deliberately left love in the world this year, there is time…..and the clock is ticking.


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Parents of slain state trooper forgive accused killer

Reuters, Mount Pocono, PA – “It doesn’t do you any good to hate somebody for whatever they have done to you, because all it does is eat you up. And in the end, what does it do for you? Absolutely nothing.” 

Those are the words of Bryon Dickson, father of a slain Pennsylvania State Police trooper who said Sunday that he and his wife have forgiven their son’s alleged killer. Bryon and Darla Dickson said forgiveness has helped them move on and avoid becoming bitter.

Police Corporal Bryon Dickson II was killed by a sniper outside his barracks last fall. The defendant, Eric Frien, is a survivalist now awaiting trial on murder charges that carry a possible death sentence.

“Justice lays behind (us), where Eric Frein must be held accountable for what he did to our son,” Darla said. “Forgiveness, however, lays before us. It is our hope. We know as Christians we will see Bryon again.”

The Dicksons spoke about the death of their son and the healing power of forgiveness during three “Blue Sunday” services honoring law enforcement at the Community Church in Mount Pocono, about 110 miles north of Philadelphia.

“The only alternative is bitterness,” the church pastor, David Crosby Jr., added. “Forgiveness is the difference between becoming bitter and getting better.” Darla and Bryon Dickson nodded in agreement.

Read more:
Parents of slain Pennsylvania trooper forgive accused killer, Business Insider (Reuters – US Edition).

Forgiveness ahead for Trooper Dickson’s parents, The Standard Speaker, Hazleton, PA.  

Parents of slain trooper declare forgiveness for man awaiting trial, Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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Hello, and thank you for this wonderful site! I’m writing an article about forgiveness, focusing on people who do the unimaginable: They forgive someone who murdered their child or loved one. In many months of interviewing these remarkable people, I’ve found that most of them are able to forgive because of an abiding religious faith. In many cases they are devout Christians, and they find enormous solace and healing through prayer, Scripture, and devotion. As one woman told me: “I never could have forgiven the killer without God.” Which leads me to wonder …. Is there a way to reach this place of forgiveness if you’re an atheist or an agnostic? I know the answer has to be yes! But am I right in thinking that the majority of forgiveness work does have a spiritual component? Thank you so much for your guidance. I’m very grateful for any perspective you might give.

You are right in that the majority of case studies, reported in the media, of people forgiving offenders for extreme cases of injustice seem to possess a deep faith.  If you look at the News items on this website, you will see many such cases.  Not all are Christian as seen, for example, in Eva Moses Kor’s forgiveness of Nazis who imprisoned her and her twin sister at Auschwitz. Mrs. Kor is Jewish.

Aristotle taught over 2,000 years ago that there are developmental movements in forgiveness from superficial to deep and profound.  Most people can forgive others for small issues and we have worked with people from various belief systems (and no belief at all) to forgive significant injustices.  Yet, the extreme injustices, again as reported in the media, do point to the theme of transcendence.  By “transcendence” I mean going beyond the material, the concrete, what can be sensed in this world, to something more—something bigger.  I think this theme of transcendence is important and worth taking seriously with regard to your question.  Those who see that there is more to the body, more to this life seem to have the capacity to transcend resentment in a way that, as you suggest, is surprising.

I am not implying that atheists or agnostics cannot or will not transcend in their forgiving.  I am saying that it may—it may—be harder for them to do so because materialistic philosophies do not assume that there is more beyond the physical bases of existence.

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Teaching can be a difficult profession—-the constant pressures to help students achieve, the layers of discipline from students’ inattention to downright disrespect, few breaks to prepare for the demanding instruction, and discouraged colleagues.

I struggled to get a doctoral degree so that I could try administration, but once I did achieve that educational milestone, the administrative door stayed closed for so long.  There seemed to be an implicit understanding that I first take an administrative position in one of the rougher areas of town which was something I did not want to do. So, I stayed at my present job and did not climb “the ladder of success.”

I had to forgive the system for creating this expectation that was not at all clear until I earned the degree.  I have forgiven and I am content serving the students as I teach rather than administrate.  The entire experience could have left me bitter, but it did not.  Forgiveness saved me from such bitterness.

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I am in a relationship with a man who is constantly criticizing me. No matter how much I tell him that this is hurtful, he keeps at it. He does apologize and talks of his temper that he has modeled after his father. How many times do I have to forgive him? It is getting very wearying to keep forgiving him every day.

I am sorry that you are having to endure this criticism. I am sure this is very difficult. My first question concerns fairness. When you forgive, do you also ask for fairness? Forgiveness does not mean that we put up with unfair treatment. My second question concerns what forgiveness is. Are you responding mercifully to your husband? Are you excusing him as you forgive? Forgiveness does not find excuses. Regarding how long to forgive, if you are not in danger and if you are asking for fairness and if you are forgiving as a true expression of mercy and kindness toward him, then forgiveness can be a psychological protection for you. The hope is that your husband will respond to your call for him to stop, see your compassion, and then change for the better.

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