Chaplain's Corner: Forgiveness Part 2
As I said in the previous newsletter, all of us have had someone in our life who hurt us, betrayed us or deeply disappointed us in some way. And it is very easy, especially if we have been extremely hurt, to put a wall around ourselves that keeps us from having intimacy with the person who hurt us, but also from everyone else. But life without intimate, open relationships with others is a lonely existence.
Intimate relationships provide us with love, companionship and the social support we need to live a healthy life. And, if we are truly honest with ourselves, not only have we been hurt by others, but we also have hurt others - sometimes intentionally and other times unintentionally.
Maintaining healthy, close relationships is not easy. However, once hurt, it is easy to retaliate by hurting the one who hurt me, which can lead to an endless cycle of hurt, bitterness and retaliation. I have seen this so often when it comes to marriages or friendships. The only way to move forward to restore a relationship that is broken, or to recover from a relationship that cannot be fixed, is to forgive not from our heads but from our hearts.
Too often I hear people say they forgive someone, but it is because they think that is what they are supposed to do. But it is only when we truly forgive someone from our hearts that forgiveness is really given. Where does this ability come from? It comes from Jesus.
How? When we receive Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Savior, admitting our own need for forgiveness from Him, He enables us to see our own need for forgiveness not just from Him, but others as well.
As it says in the Bible, "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you." The more I understand how much I need forgiveness, the easier it is to forgive others. He also gives us the power to forgive others from our hearts. In the last newsletter I gave you two examples of people who were given the power by Jesus to forgive people who had deeply hurt them. Here are two more:
The family members of those nine people slain at Charleston, South Carolina's Emanuel African American Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015, stunned and amazed our nation during the killer's bond hearing. One by one they said to the unrepentant and stone-faced killer, Dylann Roof, who wanted to start a race war, "I forgive you."
In October, 2006, a gunman shot ten Amish schoolgirls, five of whom died, saying that he was angry at God for the death of his young daughter ten years before. The afternoon of the shooting, the grandfather of one of the girls who was killed expressed forgiveness toward the killer, Charles Roberts. That same day, members of the Amish community visited the relatives of Roberts to comfort them in their sorrow and pain. Several of the parents who had buried their own daughters the day before went to the funeral of Roberts and hugged his widow. The Amish also donated money to the killer's wife and children to help them financially.
To go further in depth about forgiveness go to rightnowmediaatwork.org and search "Forgiveness." There are many resources there to help you.
To contact me, if you want to talk to me about this or anything else, my personal cell number is 513-505-3761. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Anything that we talk about is confidential and will not be shared with anyone else.
FSE Corporate Chaplain
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