“Forgiveness means letting go of the hope for a better past.” – Dalai Lama
In light of the recent tragedy in our community I want to address what I feel is a very important topic both emotionally and spiritually. When something terrible happens, an act of violence especially on one so innocent, it is easy to react with anger, hatred and even violence. These are powerful emotions that feel overwhelming and because of their power. No one wants to condone the violence that occurred, but to seek vengeance and violent retribution does not promote the healing and peace we all long for.
I only recently heard about the Forgiveness Project and I wanted to share it with others in my community in the hopes that it will help mend what has been broken. We all want to feel safe in our small town and be able to trust our neighbors. Trust can only develop when open dialogue, honesty, compassion and understanding prevail. Judgment, ridicule and hatred have no place in a loving community. I hope that those of you hurting will read this and take from it what you need to help heal yourselves and our community.
My prayers are with Willow, her family, her friends, and our entire community. Thank you to everyone who did what they could to help find her. Your actions did not go unnoticed. Let’s try to focus on the good that came from this tragedy and try to build a bridge of healing and growth as best we can.
Peace and Love,
What is Forgiveness?
The Forgiveness Project’s highly acclaimed exhibition, The F Word, shows all too clearly that forgiveness means many different things to different people. It is deeply personal, often private and far from the soft option many take it to be. The stories on this website show that often forgiveness is difficult, costly, painful – but potentially transformative.
Above all, forgiveness must be a choice because to expect someone to forgive can victimize them all over again. Forgiveness is also a journey and not a destination: in other words it is rarely a one-off, fixed event or a single magnanimous gesture in response to an isolated offence. It is part of a continuum of human engagements in healing broken relationships.
You can forgive small acts or big acts; acts against an individual , or a group, or a god. Such acts may or may not be crimes, for example adultery or betrayal.
Forgiveness is often considered the mental, and/or spiritual process of relinquishing resentment, indignation or anger against another person for a perceived offense, or ceasing to demand punishment. It is quite separate from justice (meted out by the state through the courts or some other delegated authority). But forgiveness does not preclude justice.
Many stories in The F Word exhibition show that forgiveness can be a useful life skill which can liberate a person who has been hurt, releasing them from the grip of the perpetrator. It is connected with acceptance and moving on. Some have said forgiveness is ‘giving up all hope of a better past.’ In this sense forgiveness is also an act of self-healing, rather than an act of kindness towards someone who has hurt you.
In some contexts, forgiveness may be granted without any expectation of compensation, and without any response from the perpetrator (for example, you can forgive a person who shows no remorse or a person who is dead). In other contexts, it may be necessary for the perpetrator to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology and/or reparation in order for the wronged person to believe they are able to forgive,
Finally, forgiveness does not condone or excuse the action. It is a gift from one individual to another. It is therefore debatable whether institutions, governments or nameless officials can actually be forgiven. Some say that with extreme offenses while you may forgive a person for what he or she has done, the act itself remains unforgivable. – The Forgiveness Project
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)