Famous People

On Lowered Expectations of Injustice

We can get so annoyed so easily.  A traffic jam….and we are annoyed.

A colleague late for the meeting…..and we are annoyed.

A spouse who is taking too long in the changing room at the clothing store…..and we are annoyed.

Spend a little time with a homeless person and then ask yourself if the above three are big or minor annoyances.  When I pass a homeless person, I can tell that he expects me to not see him.  He thinks he is invisible.

He is not.Homeless

Just yesterday, in leaving a restaurant with a good friend, there was a dear homeless person on the corner.  It was a cold evening.  He smiled.  We gave him our “take out box” and he beamed.  He laughed and with arms outstretched, he proclaimed, “God bless you.”

So amazing.  He has nothing….no home…..and he thinks he is invisible to the rest of the world.

Yet, he is rich because he has gratitude and love in his heart.

We decided, after having traversed a block on making our way to the safety and warmth of our homes, to turn back and give him some money along with the food.  He was eating, saw us coming, and with outstretched arms, welcomed us with a “God bless you.”

He seems to have no resentment in his heart…..even when outside….without a home…..in the cold of an early winter……even while seeing that others do not see him.

Robert

Note: We are filing this in the category of Famous People.  The homeless are not invisible and we did not want this uncategorized post to become invisible.

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Quotations on Forgiveness from Desmond Tutu (Honorary Board Member of the International Forgiveness Institute)

We are made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like plants without water.

Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing the humanity in others.

Forgiving and being reconciled to our enemies or our loved ones are not about pretending that things are other than they are. It is not about patting one another on the back and turning a blind eye to the wrong. True reconciliation exposes the awfulness, the abuse, the hurt, the truth. It could even sometimes make things worse. It is a risky undertaking but in the end it is worthwhile, because in the end only an honest confrontation with reality can bring real healing. Superficial reconciliation can bring only superficial healing.

A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.

Robert

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The Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin

One of the famous quotations of Benjamin Franklin is this: “The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.”

I have never heard a challenge to the quotation, but I wonder. Surely, his list of offerings to certain people sounds completely reasonable, but I wonder about the exclusivity of it all. Why not give a good example, for example, to an enemy as you give forgiveness? Why not give forgiveness, for example, to your mother or to yourself when standards are broken.

It seems to me that the “best thing” to give anyone is forgiveness when they have been unjust.

Yes, let us give forgiveness to an enemy….and to all others listed when it is appropriate. Let us give charity to all, as the wise Mr. Franklin says, and forgiveness is one aspect of charity, given when others offend.

R.E.

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Wisdom From a Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Please consider the following quotation from Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” Now for a little homework assignment. Please consider doing one small, seemingly inconsequential act of love toward someone who has annoyed you recently—-maybe a smile or an encouraging word or an act of service of some kind (such as holding a door open for him or her). Practice forgiving through a small act that has great love attached to it.

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Corrie Ten Boom

Have you ever heard of Corrie Ten Boom? She wrote the book, The Hiding Place. She lived through a concentration camp even though many in her family did not. She was abused and left with mourning and scars.

Yet, she found a way to forgive. She expressed this in a lecture one night in Germany. Although she was unaware of it, the SS office who abused her years ago was in the audience.

After the lecture, as people gathered around Corrie, the SS officer waited in line, then extended his hand, and asked her to forgive him. Shocked, confused, and not knowing what to do, she forgave.

How could she forgive so quickly? From her narrative in the book, it all sounds perfectly legitimate to me. She felt a love for him, she says in the book.

How is this possible? I will not provide the answer. I would like you to research it for yourself and then see how that pertains to your life.

R.E.

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