Author Archive: directorifi
A Sign of True Forgiveness
The Argus Observer, Ontario, OR – Christopher Ragus, the 40-year-old owner of Making Tracks Cyclery in Nyssa, OR, boarded up a window of his store that was shattered by a brick during a break-in the night before. On the plywood boards he painted the words “I forgive you!”
“I wanted to put a statement out there that this wasn’t going to get to me,” Ragus said of the robbery that resulted in four BMX-style bicycles being stolen.
“Still want justice. But this is what I need to do. Not going to let this speed bump keep us from winning the race,” Ragus said. He added that forgiveness and understanding are a part of his overall values.
“I’m a Christian and I really wanted to make a bold statement to whoever did this that whatever it is they’re going through, to do something like this, can only mean they’re going through more in life than I am,” Ragus said.
Read the full story: “A Sign of Forgiveness After Theft”
Mother Forgives Man Who Shot Her Twin Sons
WOWT Channel 6, Omaha, NE – An Omaha woman says she forgives the man who killed her 28-year-old son Kevin McIntyre and wounded his twin Branden at a party in early August.
“I forgive the young man that did it, I really do,” said Lisa McIntyre speaking to a large crowd at a recent vigil. “I would just like to ask for no retaliation.”
McIntyre said she isn’t angry, only showing forgiveness. “You said that you have forgiven him, why do you feel that in your heart, that forgiveness? I don’t be tangled up inside, I don’t take this anger and do something else. I have another twin out there, not just that I can set an example.”
Her words inspired others in the crowd. “Let’s quit being the victims and start being the victors,” said one woman. “We are human beings, red, yellow, green, black or white. We are all brothers and sisters, let’s love each other, quit fighting, it ain’t worth it, it ain’t worth it.”
As balloons were released into the air, McIntyre added, “I’m not angry, I am not upset, I just want it to stop. That is it, that is all I can say.”
The man who shot her sons has turned himself in to authorities.
Read the full story: “Mother Of Twins Shot Sunday Forgives Gunman“
Award-Winning Musician Practices Forgiveness–Even for His Father’s Killer
The Christian Science Monitor, Boston, MA – Over a 100-day period beginning on April 6, 1994, nearly 1 million Rwandan Tutsis lost their lives at the hands of their fellow Rwandans, the Hutus. Prior to the outbreak of that genocide, Jean Paul Samputu, a Tutsi and at the time a rising star on the East African music scene, spent six months in jail, along with thousands of other Tutsis who had been arrested at their homes.
When he was released from jail, his father urged him to flee the country. While Jean Paul escaped to neighboring Burundi and Uganda, the elder Samputu stayed behind in his village. In the nightmare of genocidal rage that followed, Jean Paul lost his father, mother, three brothers, and a sister.
Struggling with grief, anger, and desperation, Samputu slid into drinking and drugs, causing his career, his health, and his private life to spiral downward.
In 2003, Samputu found himself on Prayer Mountain, a real place in Uganda. There, he says, God showed him that he needed to forgive. “That’s when I said yes to God. I can forgive,” Samputu recalls. “I got a great peace in my heart.” He also vowed that he would take his message of forgiveness all over the world.
Returning to his native village, Samputu found and forgave the former neighbor who had killed his father. Despite the irrationality of it all, the two men worked together over the next few years to bring their message of forgiveness to all of Rwanda.
“Forgiveness is for you, not the offender. Forgiveness is the only thing that can stop the cycle of violence, the culture of revenge,” Samputu says. “If we don’t want another genocide, our children must learn this message.”
Samputu also returned to his music and his career took off. He won the Kora Award (the African Grammy) for Most Promising African Male Artist. Three years later, in 2006, he won First Place for World Music in the International Songwriting Competition. And in 2007, he was recognized as an “ambassador of peace” by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace.
Today, Samputu, who sings in six languages, has established himself as one of the most prominent African artists on the world stage. He is an international ambassador for peace, speaking at the UN and at universities throughout Japan, Canada, the US, and Germany. His nonprofit group, The Mizero Foundation, focuses on teaching gender equality and the empowerment of women.
He also formed a music and dance group called Mizero Children of Rwanda. These 15 children, all orphaned by the genocide, traveled with him throughout Africa, Canada, and the United States, singing, dancing, and delivering a message of forgiveness.
Read the full story: “Jean Paul Samputu practices forgiveness even for his father’s killer.”
From A Story of Evil, A Lesson In Forgiveness
Beverly Donofrio is known for her best-selling memoir “Riding in Cars with Boys,” where she wrote about her experience as a teen mom. That book was made into a film starring Drew Barrymore in 2001.
She followed up with “Looking for Mary,” a memoir about her spiritual life. But just as she was taking the next step in her spiritual life, planning to join a monastery in Mexico, she was raped at knife point in her own home. But instead of succumbing to fear and shame, she fought back in her own way. Now she shares that story and her journey of healing through forgiveness in a new book called “Astonished: A Story of Evil, Blessings, Grace, and Solace.”
During an interview on NPR, Donofrio explained how she survived the rape by praying out loud the Hail Mary in Spanish:
“And he (the attacker) said, you’re praying, stop praying. And I said, I’m praying for you, which was a lie, and then I thought, well, it should be the truth. So then I said a Hail Mary interiorly, praying for him, that he see what he was doing, the wrong in it, and heal from whatever was making him do it. And then the next Hail Mary, I’m praying, please, Jesus, God, Mary, every angel, saint, dead relative, get this man out of my house.”
Surprisingly, the man backed off the bed and left.
The next day, Donofrio wrote an article for the local newspaper detailing her experience and offering advice for other women who might become victims of rape. Five days after the story ran in the newspaper, the man who attacked her was captured. He was the serial rapist who had been attacking women in the town for eight months, severely beating two of the women who had fought back.
Asked how she began the healing process. Donofrio said, “Well, you know, when you can’t forgive – and I couldn’t for a long time – it hurts you. It doesn’t hurt the person or anyone else. It’s you that it’s hurting, keeping negative, angry feelings alive. I mean, I couldn’t help those feelings. I was angry, but I did have the will. I knew that I wanted to forgive because I wanted to just let it go and get on. It took probably four years before this happened. And I do feel healed.”
Read more of the NPR interview, “From A Story of Evil, A Lesson In Forgiveness.” Her book is available at amazon.com.
Man Forgives Grandmother’s Killer Then Works to Eliminate Death Penalty
Post-Tribune, Gary, IN – Bill Pelke’s grandmother was brutally murdered during a 1985 break-in at her home by Paula Cooper and three of her classmates from Lew Wallace High School. Cooper, 15 at the time, was the apparent leader in the booze and marijuana fueled attack that left the 78-year-old grandmother slashed and stabbed 33 times. For her role in the crime, Cooper was sentenced to death.
“When it first happened, it was so painful I couldn’t stand to think about it,” Pelke said. But about 18 months after his grandmother’s murder, as he was sitting in the crane he operated at the former Bethlehem Steel, Pelke came to the realization he had to let the hatred go.
“I no longer pictured how she died but how she lived. When I did, something tremendous happened,” Pelke said as he talked about forgiving Cooper. “Forgiveness should be a habit. It should be a way of life.”
Following that catharsis, Pelke spent the better part of the next 25 years advocating to save Cooper’s life and trying to eradicate the death penalty altogether. Pelke’s and Cooper’s story quickly gained international attention and fueled a petition bearing more than 2 million signatures demanding Cooper’s life be spared.
“I’ve probably told my story 5,000 to 6,000 times,” Pelke said. “I’m convinced I’m doing the right thing.”
Ultimately, Cooper’s death sentence was commuted to 60 years in prison when the Supreme Court ruled it was illegal to execute anyone under the age of 18. That sentence was eventually reduced by about half for good time and education credit and she was released last month.
Pelke, who visited her 15 times while she was incarcerated, looks forward to seeing her even though he now lives in Alaska.
“I want to welcome her back to society, the free world. I want to reinforce: I will do whatever I can do to help her get a job. To me, it is very important she is successful,” Pelke said.
Read the full story: “Victim’s grandson finds forgiveness in wake of brutal Gary slaying”