Forgiveness Test

Friday, June 21, 2013

To Forgive is

What does it mean when you forgive somebody? Pastor Frederick Buechner says,
To forgive somebody is to say one way or another, "You have done something unspeakable, and by all rights I should call it quits between us. Both my pride and my principles demand no less. However, although I make no guarantees that I will be able to forget what you’ve done and though we may both carry the scars for life, I refuse to let it stand between us. I still want you for my friend." - from Wishful Thinking

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mother cares for her son’s Amish victims

By Daniel Burke

September 29, 2011

LANCASTER, Pa. (RNS) Terri Roberts was eating outside with a co-worker on a bright October day when an ambulance wailed nearby and a helicopter swooped overhead.

As she often did at a sirens’ sound, Roberts said a quick prayer.

“Little did I know what I was praying for,” she said.

Walking back to her office, Roberts heard the phone ring. It was her husband, Chuck.

“I need you to come to Charlie’s house right away,” he said, referring to their 32-year-old son.

Terri jumped into her car. The radio broadcast said there had been a shooting at an Amish schoolhouse in nearby Nickel Mines, Pa., where Charlie sometimes parked his milk truck.

Living forgiveness: Lessons on the fifth anniversary of the Amish schoolhouse shootings

Five years after a massacre devastated Lancaster County's Amish, the way they have coped with the tragedy holds lessons for all

By L. Gregory Jones

October 2, 2011
Five years ago today, Charles Carl Roberts IV entered an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pa., and shot 10 girls — mortally wounding five — before killing himself. This quiet, rural community in Lancaster County suddenly became a place of unprecedented contrasts: violence amid peaceful people, hordes of satellite trucks in a place that favors simplicity.

Most striking, in a world of deep division and blame-offering, was the nearly immediate forgiveness the Amish community expressed to the Roberts family. This was not forgiveness offered in a prepared statement, delivered by lawyers or news crews, but forgiveness offered in person, from one human being to another.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Forgiving the man who has deformed her face

Another beautiful story of forgiveness. Her name is Ameneh Bahrami. She has no form or comeliness; and when we see her, there is no beauty that we should desire her. Nevertheless, the outstanding beauty lies unquestionably in her heart.

Blinded Iranian rejects eye-for-eye punishment of attacker

TEHRAN—An Iranian woman blinded and disfigured by a man who threw acid into her face stood above her attacker Sunday in a hospital operating room as a doctor was about to put several drops of acid in one of his eyes in court-ordered retribution.

The man waited on his knees and wept.

Monday, May 30, 2011

How to forgive monsters

One is the story of Sunny Jacobs who had been jailed for 17 years wrongfully accused; the other is Debbie Morris who at 16 were kidnapped and raped multiple times by a man named Robert Willie who was played by Sean Penn in "Dead Man Walking."

Nota bene:
Sean Penn was a dead ringer for Robert Lee Willey in the movie "Dead Man Walking." Just when Debbie thought she had put the past behind her, it was now haunting her from bookstore windows and theater marquis. Now, Debbie had someone else to forgive, the real life nun, Sister Helen Prejean, who wrote the book on which the movie was based -- the nun who was Robert Willey's spiritual advisor and friend -- the nun who never consulted Debbie when she wrote her book.

Debbie made a call to ask her why. That was the beginning of an unusual friendship.

"We do have differences of opinion about things. But we share the things that are most important -- a love for Jesus Christ, a will to be obedient to God, and a value for human life. Whether it's the life of the victims of the life of the perpetrator or offender."

And that's why Debbie wrote a book to tell her own story. (CBN)

Friday, May 27, 2011

A 9/11 Friendship of Forgiveness

Two mothers—one whose son was killed on 9/11, one whose son is jailed for conspiracy to commit the attacks—explain their unlikely friendship.

On September 11, 2001, Phyllis Rodriguez' son, Greg, was killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Two months later, Aicha el-Wafi's son, Zacarias Moussaou, was indicted on charges of conspiring to plan the attack that killed him.

In 2002, the two mothers met. Over the years they have built an unlikely friendship based on forgiveness, peace, and hope for the future.

The Night I Forgave My Daughter's Killer

by Marietta Jaeger-Lane, as told to Lynsi Burton
May 27, 2011

We hoped this would be a once-in-a-lifetime family vacation—camping for a whole month in Montana. One night, at our first stop, our 7-year-old daughter Susie was kidnapped out of our tent. The tent was cut next to where her head had lain; she was pulled out and carried away.

My husband and dad drove to the next town and returned with the sheriff. A massive investigation ensued, while all we could do was to sit at the picnic table and watch, wait, and worry.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

C. S. Lewis on forgiveness

 The problem of forgiveness:
. . . you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out. The difference between this situation and the one in such you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.

As regards my own sin it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men’s sins against me it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are better than I think. One must therefore begin by attending to everything which may show that the other man was not so much to blame as we thought.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A time to love and a time to hate

A new forgiveness film has been released. A film by Helen Whitney. The title is Forgiveness: A time to love and a time to hate. Divided into two 90-minute acts, the film will air on Sundays, April 17 and 24, 2011 at 10pm ET on PBS stations nationwide (please check your local listings).

Please visit Fetzer Institute!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The dance of forgiveness

Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel, but learning how to embody it is not easy. In their new book, "Forgiving As We've Been Forgiven," L. Gregory Jones and Célestin Musekura provide a guide for the practice of forgiveness.

February 1, 2011 | Célestin Musekura’s mother had been presumed dead in the 1992 Rwandan genocide. Many months later, though nearly their entire village had been destroyed, she was found alive.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Mandela and Suu Kyi

Another 5-star article from Cardus. The author compares Mandela with Suu Kyi.

Point of View
Extraordinary Leadership

December 17, 2010 - Janet Epp Buckingham

I was sitting in a conference room at a historic English chateau when I heard that Nelson Mandela was being released and the African National Congress unbanned. Two of the men sitting in the conference room began to cry; they were black South Africans who had not been allowed to go back to South Africa for 25 years.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

For now, excuse me if I don't forgive you

A 20-year-old Terri-Lynne McClintic is pleaded guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Grade 3 student Tori Stafford. Here I re-post excerpts from the statements of grief and loss from the Staffords. I admit that in such situation it is really hard to even think of forgiving the offender.

Victim impact statements from Tori Stafford’s family (December 09, 2010)

Rosie DiManno

WOODSTOCK, ONT. - The emptiness is overwhelming and words do not suffice.

But those who knew Tori Stafford best, loved her most, did try to articulate their unbearable loss in victim impact statements read into the court record, prior to the conviction and mandatory life sentence for murder in the first degree imposed on Terri-Lynne McClintic. A temporary ban on the proceedings has now been partly lifted.

What follows are excerpts from the statements delivered by members of the 8-year-old’s grieving family.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pohl on grace enters with the stranger

The practice of hospitality is central to Christian institutions and Christian leadership, says theologian and ethicist Christine D. Pohl.

Christian leaders have a critical role to play in restoring the institutional practice of hospitality, Christine D. Pohl said. And the best place they can learn about hospitality is often from those who are on the margins, she said.

“You have to be a stranger yourself,” Pohl said. “There has to be an intentional marginality, an intentional experience that becomes part of our spiritual discipline.”

Institutions are essential to the practice of hospitality, which Pohl says is not simply a matter of pleasantries but of finding ways to identify with the experiences and perspectives of marginalized people. “One can’t claim the role of host all the time; … it is a gift also to be willing to be guests and to share in people’s lives.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Is it Time for Forgiveness? The Journey of Forgiveness: A Living Narrative of Transformation

Dr. Gayle L. Reed

Gayle Reed received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin in Educational Psychology. During her work at the University of Wisconsin, Gayle participated in the Forgiveness Research Program under the auspices of Dr. Robert Enright. Dr. Reed's research on forgiveness therapy for women after spousal abuse is published in the October 2006 issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Gayle currently teaches "The Psychology of Interpersonal Forgiveness" at the University of Wisconsin Extension and has an ongoing practice of forgiveness psychology workshops and individual forgiveness recovery consultation.

Forgiveness is perhaps the central virtue in a person’s religious or spiritual life. Yet it may be the most difficult response to consider after a horrific and violent event such as the recent campus shootings at Virginia Tech. Questions naturally arise: Shouldn’t one be angry about such a cruel and senseless event? Isn’t the pursuit of justice more important than forgiveness? Shouldn’t we find out why someone didn’t provide better protection from the violence? Wouldn’t the victims have to ignore their very real feelings of pain and grief if they forgive too soon? But other questions arise also: How should a person best respond to unjust suffering? Can an unfairly injured person become a stronger, better person by forgiving? How does forgiveness impact the restoration of a wounded community?

During the forgiveness process, it is, indeed, important to spend sufficient time uncovering anger and grieving the undeserved pain of the wrongdoing…but with the express purpose of relinquishing debilitating resentment and/or revenge. Most central to forgiveness is the paradoxical benevolent response of goodwill toward the wrongdoer (even if he/she is no longer alive). In this way the injured person him/herself finds release and healing. Then engagement in the pursuit of restorative justice and related social causes can proceed with a positive energy that is no longer confused by or acting as a form of resentment or revenge. Thus can communities also become places of healing rather than the settings of relentless cycles of violence and revenge (however subtle or “legally justified”).

Monday, October 4, 2010

Miroslav Volf's lecture

Free of Charge? Forgiveness and Faith in a World of Rejection and Rights
Brown University
8 February 2010.