The ability to forgive is mostly seen as an attribute of a strong and mature person and although we are told to forgive and forget it is easier said than done. Many people hope for forgiveness with a belief that every human deserves to be forgiven. Throughout the life of a person, they have had to experience guilt and hope for forgiveness and the pain of being asked to forgive others. Most people were raised to believe the act of forgiving is a difficult part of humanity but also helps in moving forward and forgetting the past. There are people around the world who have demonstrated remarkable acts of forgiveness which have helped them leave behind painful memories and focus on a brighter future.
1. On May 11, 2002 Renee Napier and Phillip and Mary Dickson received devastating news that their daughters had been killed at the age of twenty by a drunk driver. Although their grief was painful to deal with, they formed organizations to help others in situations such as theirs and to prevent drunk driving. The parents worked with the drunk driver as he still serves his time in prison to share the story and display the car from the accident. Napier and Mary have been able to find a place in their heart to forgive and forget the pain of the situation. Renee Napier, the mother of Megan Napier believed forgiveness would bring her peace and, "did not want to go through life hating someone."(2015,para.5). There are many people who have chosen not to forgive which cause hate and anger to consume them. Mary Dickinson, mother of Lisa Dickinson was very willing to forgive the drunk driver because she understood that forgiveness is " the most freeing thing you can do"(2015,para.5).Many people are not able to easily forgive someone who hurt them and changed their lives but for peace within their selves, they found it necessary to forgive and overlook the past.
2. In Aurora, Colorado Pierce O’Farrill entered a movie theater to see the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20,2012. James Holmes entered the theater and began shooting leaving twelve people dead and fifty eight wounded. Pierce O’Farrill was severely wounded in the shooting and was surprised to see such hatred towards humanity. Many people in Aurora and America were shocked Pierce forgave so easily while being surrounded and experiencing much grief. In an interview with CBN, Pierce O’Farril explained, “ I forgive him with all my heart...when I saw him in his hearing, I felt nothing but sorrow for him”(n.d,para.6). Although Pierce saw so much hatred in James’s actions, forgiving did not seem harder in this situation because the act of forgiveness gave him peace throughout his life.To forgive and forget brings about a peaceful mind and allows people to move on and not hold onto hate.
3. Gary Leon Ridgway is widely known as the green river killer who murdered a total of sixty women in 2003 and 2011. After Ridgway was convicted for the murder of Rebecca Marrero many parents were called to speak to him directly and were allowed to express anger. The father of a teenage victim gave a different comment from all the other family members experiencing grief which surprised the crowd. Robert Rule’s beliefs were made hard to live up to because of the incident but forgave him despite the pain. All the family of other victims were full of anger but Rule made it clear that “there are many people here that hate you. I’m not one of them...you are forgiven”(Robert Rule,2013,pg.1). In situations where a loved one is lost, forgiving becomes very difficult because a part of your life and happiness has been lost. To be unforgiving in such a situation will cause a person to seek ways for revenge and eventually lead to misery and unhappiness.
4.In 2011, Patricia Machin lost her husband during his daily routine to get the morning paper. Unfortunately he had been struck down by a truck driver and died after trying to recover for a year. As the court decided a charge for the driver, Patricia wrote to the court hoping they could not charge him for murder because she believed the incident was not intentional. Patricia Machin in an interview with The Guardian mentioned that "never for a single second was there any sort of angry or vengeful thoughts against the young man"(n.d,para.5). After the incident Patricia knew she would spend the rest of her life being constantly reminded of her husband who passed away and had nothing but love for the driver. Patricia believed that on that day "two people were cast into a nightmare" and sympathy should be felt for the driver because they both experienced pain.(n.d,para.7) In such a situation, there a people who would have no mercy on the driver and will not accept that two people experienced pain. Patricia's act of forgiveness surprised many people but also taught many people to accept situations and make progress in life.
5.On October 2, 2006, Charles C. Roberts walked into an Amish schoolhouse armed with three guns. He killed three children and later himself, he wanted to exact revenge for the loss of his newborn daughter nine years ago. In such a situation, the families of the deceased would be expected to demand apologies from his family but rather they did more than forgive him. The family of the deceased were extending grace and only had “concern for the widow and her children”(Jennifer Smith,2006,para.2).The Amish community and the families attended the funeral and comforted and offered financial support to the widow. The Amish family did not believe forgiveness will bring their children back but knew it was the best way to bring about peace.
Throughout our childhood we were told to forgive and forget, but living by these words were never as easy as they sounded. Although forgiving is hard, many benefits go along with the action. For many people the act of forgiveness may not seem important so they allow anger and hate to consume them. On the other hand those who have learnt to forgive have seen the positive outcomes of forgiving. From the stories of Napier to Roberts, the act of forgiving creates serenity and promote happiness. When people finally understand the importance and benefits of forgiveness, the act becomes as easy as the advice sounded years ago.