Archive for December, 2015

You talk of being trapped in an emotional prison when feeling resentment for a long time. What is the best way to get out of that prison? I know you might say for me to follow your process. What I mean is this: Should I walk this path on my own or do journaling or talk with a friend of maybe a therapist? What is the best way to walk that path?

There are many ways to walk the path of forgiveness and I would urge you not to think in “either-or” ways. In other words, why not start a journal and talk with a friend? It would be best if the friend understands and is supportive of forgiveness. It is the same with a therapist. You would want to choose a  therapist who understands what forgiveness is and is supportive of your efforts to walk this path. If you do not like journaling, it is not necessary. The key is to find supports in ways that truly benefit your goal of forgiving.

Your Forgiveness Legacy

Forgiveness is not finished with you yet. How will you lead your life from this point forward? It is your choice. When that story is finally written, what will the final chapters say about you? The beauty of this story is that you are one of the contributing authors.  You do not write it alone, of course, but with the help of those who encourage you, instruct and guide you, and even hurt you. You are never alone when it comes to your love story. It does not matter one little bit where the story was going before you embraced the virtue of forgiveness. What matters now is how you finish that story, how you start to live your life from this point forward.

What do you think? Do you think that most people are deliberately and consciously writing their own love stories, in part on the basis of leading The Forgiving Life? Or, are most people rushing by, not giving much thought to forgiveness or love?

What do you think? Do you think that most people are aware of their legacy, what they will leave behind from this precise moment on, or are they rushing about, not giving a moment’s notice to that legacy?

What do you think? Do you think that you can make a difference in a few or even many people’s lives by awakening them to the fact that they can rewrite their stories and make them love stories through forgiveness?

Enright, Robert D. (2012-07-05). The Forgiving Life (APA Lifetools) (Kindle Locations 5320-5331). American Psychological Association. Kindle Edition.

Forgiveness Education Underway in Lebanon

IFI News, Beirut, Lebanon – A long and painful history of civil wars, ethnic struggles, and invasions by other countries has plagued the country of Lebanon for decades. Now, the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) is on the front lines to help ameliorate the ongoing conflict by establishing IFI-Lebanon, an international branch office led by Lebanese native Ramy Taleb.

The current conflict in Lebanon began in 2011 when fighting from the Civil War in neighboring Syria spilled over into Lebanon. The Syrian conflict has been described as having stoked a “resurgence of sectarian violence in Lebanon” between Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, the Alawite minority, and other groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also referred to as ISIS).

Since 2011, more than 800 Lebanese have been killed and nearly 3,000 injured. Adding to the unease, more than 800,000 registered Syrian refugees were living in Lebanon in 2013, according to the United Nations. Even though Lebanon closed its borders in 2014, the number of registered as well as undocumented Syrian refugees now living in Lebanon is estimated at 1.5 million.

Ramy has already established Forgiveness Education Programs at: 1) Kings Kids Educational Centre in Choufet/ Mount Lebanon for 120 Syrian refugee students; 2) a refugee camp in Shatila/Beirut with two youth groups made up of 29 Syrian-Palestinian refugees; and, 3) at Barja/Mount Lebanon camp with 15 Syrian refugees.

Additionally, Ramy and IFI-Lebanon teamed up with the international organization Youth With a Mission (YWAM) to conduct the first “Faith and Conflict Conference.” The conference involved groups from around the world spending 10 days traveling throughout Lebanon to hear people’s stories about life in the midst of conflict, to see the consequences of war and hatred with their own eyes, and what forgiveness has to do with all that.

Ramy Taleb with students.

Ramy Taleb with students.

“Forgiveness Education for Violence Prevention and Peace Building promotes the  development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values needed to bring about behavioral change that will help prevent conflict and violence through the practice of forgiveness,” according to Ramy.

“Our goal is to make forgiveness principles known throughout Lebanon with programs at schools, refugee camps, youth centers and churches,” Ramy added. “Nearly everyone we’ve reached thus far, but especially the kids, are very eager to learn, open to sharing and touched by the forgiveness program.”

On page 174 of your book, Forgiveness Is a Choice, you write, “When people are angry, bitter, and self-absorbed, they cannot be creative and open to new experiences. They are bound by their limited paradigms.” This seems like an unhappy state in which to dwell. If I now see this and see the beauty of forgiveness, am I now obligated to help others whom I see as being in this state?

I think the answer will depend on your growth in understanding and appreciating the virtue of forgiveness. Have you so lived with forgiveness that you see it as vital within yourself? Is forgiveness now part of who you are as a person? Do you now think that you have a certain obligation to forgive others, not a grim obligation, but a joyous one?

If you answer yes to these questions, then I think you likely have within yourself an obligation to share what you know with others—-without force or condemnation toward those who are not ready for your message. As you started with forgiveness being a choice for you, it is a choice for others. Please see that and let people have their own free will as you make known what you see as the beauty of forgiving.

Forgiveness for Distracted Driver Who Kills Teen

KXAN.COM, Hudsonville, MI, USA – A 40-year-old driver admitted he was eating a sandwich and using a GPS device when his vehicle crashed into the rear of a mini-van on a Michigan interstate highway in August killing a 13-year-old boy in the mini-van. At the driver’s sentencing last week, the boy’s family offered forgiveness.

For causing the crash, Travis Fox was sentenced to 18 months of probation, must serve on a panel to discuss the dangers of distracted driving, and must complete 40 hours of community service in the form of public speaking on distracted driving dangers.

But it was the powerful message of forgiveness that left many in tears following an unexpected move by the 13-year-old’s mother Kristin DeGraaf and father Jason Talsma.

DeGraaf told those in the courtroom that many lives were changed that day, including Fox’s — something that is not lost on her.

“I have forgiven him,” DeGraaf said. “My prayer is that he somehow will forgive himself, too, someday.”

Talsma said he felt the same way.

“Just putting myself into his shoes,” Talsma said of Fox before the two hugged in the courtroom. “Just realizing we are all real hurt over this, and he is as well, I could just feel it.”

Read the full story and watch the news report: Michigan distracted driver who killed boy gets probation, forgiveness.