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 Silhouette3following 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.

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Whenever I try to reconcile with my partner, I am reminded of the mean things that he did. It kind of sets back the reconciliation process. What do you recommend?

This is not uncommon. When the old feelings emerge as you try to reconcile, I recommend that you once again start the forgiveness process with this person and with a focus on the particular hurtful event. The more you go back to forgiving, the deeper the forgiveness tends to develop in you.

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Forgiveness Therapy Can Work Better Than a Pill!

“Forgiveness therapy should be part of palliative care and it can work more powerfully than a pill,” Dr. Robert Enright told attendees at the Fifth Annual Healthy Aging Conference held in Madison on Sept. 9.PillToMouth

Dr. Enright, who pioneered the social scientific study of forgiveness beginning more than 30 years ago, has found that forgiveness increases happiness and a sense of well-being and may produce physical benefits by diminishing tensions, anger, resentment, and hurt.

“Forgiveness is surgery for a broken heart. You have the opportunity to do surgery and rehabilitation of the heart,” according to Dr. Enright. Healthy-Aging“Forgiveness offers understanding, patience, kindness, and even love to another person.”

Dr. Enright emphasized to Conference attendees that forgiveness is especially important for people to practice as they age. He said that is not only important for the health of an aging person but that older
persons also help establish their family as a “forgiving community” and teach their children and grandchildren about forgiveness.

The Forgiveness Program developed and espoused by Dr. Enright is outlined on the website of the organization he co-founded, the International Forgiveness Institute. It is detailed in several of the books he has written including:


   ForgivenessTherapyCover-BorderThe Forgiving Life8 Keys to Forgiveness


Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope – This is a self-help book for people who have been deeply hurt by another and are caught in a vortex of anger, depression, and resentment.

The Forgiving Life: A Pathway to Overcoming Resentment and Creating a Legacy of Love This book describes a process, followed with success by people around the world, to confront the pain; rise above it to forgive; and in so doing, loosen the grip of the depression, anger, and resentment.

8 Keys to Forgiveness – Dr. Enright’s newest book, just released this month, is a hands-on guide that walks readers through the forgiveness process in just 8 key steps.

Forgiveness Therapy: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope – Recently published by the American Psychological Association (APA), this manual is for Licensed Psychiatrists and Psychologists as well as other professional counselors.

The 5th Annual Healthy Aging Conference was hosted by Catholic Charities of Madison, WI – a private 501(c)(3) non-profit agency affiliated with Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s largest private network of people helping people.

Read more in the official newspaper of the Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald: “Catholic Charities conference focuses on healthy aging.”

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“Forgiveness Is Unfair Because It Puts the Burden of Change onto the Victim”

I heard this statement from a person who holds a considerable degree of academic influence.  The learned scholar, however, did not give a learned response as I will show in this little essay.

Suppose that Brian is driving his car and is hit by a drunk driver.  Brian’s leg is broken and he must undergo surgery and subsequent rehabilitation therapy if he again will have the full use of his leg.  What happened to him was unjust and now the burden of getting back a normal leg falls to him.  He has to get the leg examined, say yes to the surgery, to the post-surgical recovery, and to months of painful rehab.  The “burden of change” specifically when it comes to his leg is his and his alone.

Yes, the other driver will have to bear the burden of paying damages, but this has no bearing on restoring a badly broken leg.  Paying for such rehabilitation is entirely different from doing the challenging rehab work itself.

Suppose now that Brian takes the learned academic’s statement above to heart.  Suppose that he now expects the other driver to somehow bear the burden of doing the rehab.  How will that go?  The other driver cannot lift Brian’s leg for him or bear the physical pain of walking and then running.  Is this then unfair to Brian?  Should we expect him to lie down and not rehab because, well, he has a burden of restoring his own leg?  It would seem absurd to presume so.

Is it any different with injustice requiring the surgery and rehab of the heart?  If Melissa was unfairly treated by her partner, is it unfair for Heart in Bed- RecoveringMelissa to do the hard work of forgiveness?  She is the one whose heart is hurting.  The partner cannot fix the sadness or confusion or anger……even if he repents.  Repentance will not automatically lead to a restored heart because trust must be earned little by little.  As Melissa learns to trust, she still will need the heart-rehab of forgiveness (struggling to get rid of toxic anger and struggling to see the worth in one who saw no worth in her) that only she can do.  Once hurt by another, it is the victim who must bear the burden of the change-of-heart.

We must remember: The rehab and recovery are temporary.  If the forgiver refuses to engage in such recovery, then the injurer wins twice: once in the initial hurt and a second time when the injured refuses to change because of a woeful misunderstanding that he or she must passively wait for someone else to bear the burden of change for him or her.

Ideas have consequences.  Bad ideas tend to have bad consequences.  Learned academics are not necessarily learned in all subjects across all cases.


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Mother Forgives Woman Who Kidnapped Her Daughter 17 Years Ago

WOG Blog, Women of Grace.com – A mother who was reunited with her daughter more than 17 years after the 3-day-old baby was snatched from her arms, has forgiven the kidnapper and thanked the woman “for giving her a good life.”

Celeste Nurse was only 20-years-old when she delivered a baby daughter by Caesarean section in a Cape Town, South Africa hospital back in 1997. Two days later, as she was holding the baby in her arms, Celeste dozed off. When she woke up, she learned that her daughter–whom Celeste and her husband Morne had named Zephany–had been kidnapped by a woman disguised as a nurse.

Tears 2

Celeste and Morne never saw their daughter again until earlier this year when their 13-year-old daughter Cassidy started high school and began to talk about an older girl she’d met ‘who looks like us’ and, despite the age difference, had become a very close friend. After some investigating by Morne and local police, a DNA test confirmed that the girl ‘who looks like us’ was indeed Zephany Nurse.

Zephany’s now-50-year-old kidnapper is due to appear in court next week. The woman told authorities that she had suffered a stillbirth shortly before snatching Zephany, whom she was able to breastfeed and pass off as her own, never confessing the truth to a soul–not even her own husband.

Even though the woman who kidnapped Zephany denied the Nurse family the joy of raising their child, Celeste says she has forgiven her.

“What she did was very wrong, they’ve been living a lie for the last 17 years, but I forgave her some time ago,” Celeste says. “Undoubtedly we will meet, and I will thank her for taking care of my daughter. Zephany has had a good life with her – my daughter is beautiful, inside and out, she’s kind and clever – they did a great job.”

Read the full story:
1) Need a Happy Ending? Read This! (Women of Grace.com)
2) Mother reunited with daughter nearly 18 years after newborn was snatched from her arms in hospital incredibly THANKS the woman who stole her ‘for giving her a good life’ (Daily Mail, London)

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The Missing Piece to the Peace Puzzle