In my current work in progress, I deal in part with the topic of forgiveness. One thing I have learned over the years is that without forgiveness there is no emotional or spiritual healing. Even our physical bodies can be affected when we hold grudges or harbor ill feelings towards someone who has wronged us.
On October 2, 2006, a terrible tragedy that shocked the world occurred in a small Pennsylvania Amish community. An English man, who lived and worked in the area, entered an Amish schoolhouse and shot ten girls. Five were killed and five were seriously injured. Everyone in the community, the children’s families most of all, were stunned and deeply wounded by this senseless, unbelievable act. Instead of anger and retribution, however, the families of the dead and injured chose to forgive the man who had done the evil deed. A few days after the attack I was asked by a reporter if it was true that the Amish would really forgive the shooter, and if so, how could that be? I replied: “It is true that the Amish will forgive the man, but this kind of forgiveness only comes from God.”
The Amish community not only forgave the shooter, but they raised money to help the man’s wife and children through the ordeal. As surprising as it might have seemed to the world, half of the mourners at the gunman’s funeral were Amish. The Amish knew they had a choice to make. They could either harbor resentment or choose to forgive. They knew that without forgiveness, their hearts would never heal.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there something you need to seek forgiveness for? Why not do that today?