Saturday, March 20, 2010

Learning to Forgive

My wife and I were watching an amazing story on 20/20 about a man who lost his wife and his daughter in a car crash. While the beginning and middle of the story were so tragic and heartbreaking, the end of it was something that was more wonderful than anything I could ever imagine. This man, this broken man was made partly whole again because he did something I never saw coming. Yup, he forgave the young man who was speeding recklessly and took the life of his wife and daughter. And he not only forgave this young man, but he took him with him around the country on speaking tours and they talked about the dangers of speeding and reckless driving together. One man whose life was ruined by another man...working together. It was just amazing to see. I remember my wife looking at me and saying that man who lost his family is a saint. He is an angel on earth. Amen to that.

I remember thinking that if this man...this man whose life was ruined completely could forgive the person who caused his wife and daughter to pass away then I could do the same in my life for any number of people in my life that have caused me pain. I know we all could do this because forgiveness is something that is in all of us. It is important to note though that forgiveness does not mean that you are releasing yourself from the memories or hurt that you feel. Nope, forgiveness means that you are releasing yourself from retaliation for the hurt that you feel.

That man whose family is now gone is not going to forget what that young man did by being reckless at the wheel. He will never forget that. However, what he did by forgiving that young man was to release himself from wanting to get back at that guy. And he took it one step furthering by mentoring the young man and changing his life for the better. How awesome is that?

We can all do that! We can all take our pain and our sorrow caused by others and turn it into something positive for ourselves and maybe even for the person who hurt us. I'm not saying it is easy, because you have to work this out in your own timing. Only you know when the time is right to forgive someone and release yourself of the revenge you might want to seek. But, I'll tell you this, forgiving someone else is one of the most powerful things you will ever do in your life. It is freeing and provides a sense of peace.

I'll leave you with this story...

Shawn Carter or more famously known as the rapper Jay-Z, helped his estranged father only months before his father died. He put his father up in a place to live and cared for him during his final months on earth. Jay-Z didn't have to do this as his father was never there for him growing up. Still, Jay made peace and forgave his father. I don't know how jay felt because I don't know him, but I can bet you he felt a sense of peace for making things right with him and his Dad. See, you would think that his father should have been the one to take the lead on this, but sometimes the son has to step up and be the bigger man. And sometimes in our lives we have to step up and be better citizens of the situations in our lives in order to make things right.

Forgiveness is freedom everyone. When it is right for you, try it on sometime and I know you will feel a weight lifted off of your shoulders.

Until next time...

Dr. D

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