Thursday, August 7, 2008


Forgiving others is sometimes viewed as a nice thing, something we do out of politeness. Often, in fact, it is a difficult thing.

A man in Boston fires a gun into the air, hitting a five year old on a nearby porch, and paralyzing her. The child and her mother respond by forgiving the man.

Families of murder victims work against the death penalty. Some of them clearly forgive the murderer, even those who were injured themselves by the perpetrator.

The Amish community where five young girls were murdered and five more seriously injured visited the widow and parents of the murderer to comfort them.

Forgiveness isn't just something nice that we do. Forgiveness is essential to stop hatred and fear, to clear away the underbrush of horror that shroud the awful things that have happened, and to begin building a world based on loving-kindness. And the truth is that it's not easy. I haven't been through anything particularly horrible. I don't really know what I would do if someone did something that was really terrible to me or someone I love.

Yet I pray everyday to learn and practice patience and forgiveness. I know that it is a key step in creating a just and loving world. The words from a Yom Kippur prayer echo in my mind: "We forgive ourselves and each other; we begin again in love."

Forgiveness is a political act and a spiritual practice. It is, as Martin Luther King says, an attitude. And it is a prelude to being able to love. It is a prelude to real change.

Quote of the day: "Forgiveness is not an occasional act: it is an attitude." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
Word (or phrase) of the day: Brights
Hero(es) of the day: César Chávez

No comments: