Today a Quote on Forgiveness from a book called, “Moving On” by Russell Friedman & John W. James, they also host a grief recovery website.
“Forgiveness is giving up the hope of a different or better yesterday . . .Nonforgiveness is a demand that can never be met. What it means is that you want the world to turn backward to the event that caused your pain so it can come out differently. The saddest part of nonforgiveness is that the nonforgiving person is the one who continues to suffer.
That idea of giving up an impossible demand engages a new understanding of what forgiveness really is and suggests how helpful it can be when used properly. It shows just how stuck you can become in the past, which automatically restricts you future.”
Here’s a story, by Sunday Pearson to illustrate this point:
“In July 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. That evening, two disgruntled Ku Klux Klan members decided that they needed to kill a black person. Any black person.
A 19-year-old black man named Mike Donald happened to be walking along a street in their town, and the two KKK members randomly chose him to be their victim. They drove Mike to a remote area and killed him. That evening, they drove back into town and hung Mike’s body from a tree.
Mike’s mother sat through the entire trial of the two killers. Each day, the prosecutor meticulously depicted to her and the jury the details of her son’s murder and the despicable nature of the two men who perpetrated the crime.
One accused man who turned informant took the witness stand. He was overcome with emotion as he addressed his victim’s mother. It is reported that the courtroom was silent as he began to sob and tell Mike’s mother how sorry he was for what he had done to her son.
It is said that you could have heard a pin drop as Mike’s mother shifted back in her chair, looked first downward, then back up into the face of her son’s killer. In a soft yet clearly audible voice she said, “I forgave you a long time ago.”
The attorney who was interviewed on television later said there wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom. Although it has been almost 40 years since Mike’s mother spoke those words, their impact is undiminished.
Most of us can relate to anger more easily than we can to forgiveness. Let’s face it…forgiveness sounds like a great idea until we are the one who has to actually do it! Forgiveness is powerful, but it is very hard to do because it goes against the grain of our human behavior. And it is scary because it opens the door to unsettling feelings that require painful soul-searching.
A friend of mine once said, “Forgiveness is not something we do for other people. We do it for ourselves. We are saying, ‘I’m not going to let this eat me alive. I’m going to get well and move on.'”
He’s right. Forgiveness is a choice that cannot be forced or coerced. But by clinging to the past, we scarcely exist in the present.”