Role models of forgiveness By: Breanna Grant

As humans, sometimes forgiving each other can be extremely challenging. We find different ways to explain why we should not forgive others for their actions whether it over something big or something little. But holding on to the anger created by another persons' actions just leads to an endless cycle of an eye for an eye and animosity. Eventually you will notice that while you are miserable, the other person will be living their life and not thinking about what he did to you. In life you have to forgive others so that you can continue to live your life and be in control.

Number one: One of the most recent acts of forgiveness came from the Native Americas. For a long time Native Americans had to deal with other Americans taking their sacred lands away from them. They were disrespected and tested time after time until they decided to fight back. The Native Americans and their supporters have continuously protested to defend the land from the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. After winning the protest against the construction the Natives held a forgiveness ceremony with veterans. Leonard Crow Dog and the other Natives forgave the veterans for years of oppression from the military. This act of forgiveness is significant because it shows that it is possible to right a wrong. The Veterans sincerely apologized for the militaries actions, they did not try to point the finger at another person and the Natives welcomed them with open arms. The Natives forgave the military for their ignorant actions and even urged everyone to try to be involved with creating world peace. The Native Americans modeling forgiveness can be useful in teaching others how to turn a new leaf. Instead of thinking of how they could get back at the military, the Natives simply forgave and forgot. The picture above is known as the "Forgiveness Ceremony Unites Veterans And Natives At Standing Rock Casino".

Number two: Charles C. Roberts took 15 innocent Amish girls into a schoolhouse and kept them as hostages on October 2nd 2006. Roberts was furious with God because nine years earlier his newborn daughter died suddenly. Clouded with anger, Roberts ended up killing five of the girls and himself. Through all the pain and suffering the Amish community including the families of the deceased girls found it in their hearts to attend Charles Roberts funeral. The community even offered financial assistance to Roberts widow. The actions of the Amish community in that situation was truly an act of pure forgiveness. Even though Roberts had taken away five precious lives from their community, the Amish community found a way to forgive him. Instead of reacting to the actions of Roberts in a violent way, the community came together to commit an act of empathy. The Amish community's action models how one can forgive another person and move forward in life without holding on to any anger.

Number three: During the mid 90s political tensions between the Hutu tribe and the Tutsi tribe lead to what is know as the Rwanda genocide. Immaculee Ilibagiza was a survivor of the massacre that learned how to forgive. After the president of Rwanda (a Hutu) was killed on April 6, 1994, a killing spree broke out targeting the Tutsi people. Desperately looking for a place to stay, Ilibagiza and her younger brother find a local Hutu house that only house women. Unfortunately her brother could not stay which left him vulnerable to being killed in the genocide. After hiding for some months, Immaculee Ilibagiza learns that her family had been murdered. Filled with anger Ilibagiza makes a decision to forgive the people who killed her family; she evens meets one of the murders face-to-face and tells him that she forgives him. Immaculee Ilibagiza can be considered as a role model of forgiveness because of her decision to forgive instead of retaliating. She made a mature decision that did not allow hatred or anger take control of her life.

Number four: Corrie Ten Boom was a survivor of the Holocaust that risked her own life just to save the lives of others. She and her family provided shelter for Jews, but on February 28, 1944, the Gestapo raided the house of the Ten Boom family leading to the family being arrested. Unfortunately Corrie and her sister, Betsy, was placed in the Ravensbrueck concentration camp where Betsy died later that same year. Ten Boom was mistaken as another woman and was released form the camp. While she was at a church service Boom ran into one of the prison guards at Ravensbrueck and decided to forgive him. Corrie Ten Boom is a modeled forgiveness because she forgave the man that played a key role in the death of her sister. When the guard begged Ten Boom for forgiveness, she could have left his side in the church but she did not. Ten Boom decided that she was not going to let the horrible wrongdoings of that guard and of the other people involved with the Holocaust stop her from moving on in life.

Number five: Fambul Tok is a movie based upon the various forgiveness sessions that took place between the people of Sierra Leone. In the beginning of the movie the audience listens to the powerful forgiveness session between a young woman and her uncle. The session is about a woman named Esther, who was raped during the war by her uncle when she was just 13 years old. After Esther listens to why her uncle raped her, she decides to forgive him. Esther showed that she can be a role model of forgiveness when she decided to forgive her uncle for his actions. It takes a woman great strength to forgive the person that raped her; Esther forgave her uncle not because he begged but so that she can live her life without being afraid and angry.

In life, you have to forgive others so that you can continue to live your life and be in control. These five role models of forgiveness forgave the person that treated them wrong for several reasons. But the most important part is that they have shown other people that we can forgive each other and be in control. Being in control means that a person is in control of their happiness and their life. If you stay mad at a person that does something wrong to you then that person controls your life. The Native Americans, Amish community, Immaculee Ilibagiza, Corrie Ten Boom, and Esther all taught people that forgiveness can be one of the most rewarding things that people can.

Works cited

Amatulli, J. (2016, December 06). Forgiveness Ceremony Unites Veterans And Natives At Standing Rock Casino. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from <>

Castillo, J. (2014, April 23). 25 Unbelievable And Inspiring Acts Of Forgiveness. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from <>

Garcia, A. (2013, October 31). 10 Extraordinary Examples Of Forgiveness. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from <>

Terry, S. (Director). (2011, March 15). Fambul Tok [Video file]. Retrieved March 29, 2017, from

Created By
Breanna Grant


Created with images by merfam - "Forgiven"

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