Forgiveness is often one of the hardest values to find in a person. When a person is able to find forgiveness in another it can be one of the most beautiful things in this world. The act of not-forgiving another person can be detrimental to health in many people. Sometimes forgiveness seems impossible to give, but here are our top five instances of extreme forgiveness. These people have been through so much and were still able to forgive their tormentors.
5) Marlon Hedges
A mother of two living in New York City, Hedges was strolling through a shopping center in East Harlem when two boys pushed a shopping cart off a 50 foot ledge. The cart hit in the head and caused her to go into a coma and a fight for her life, she also lost the use of one eye. Hedges went on to forgive the boys saying "I wish them well, I do, I feel very sorry for them. my son is 13 also and he is a very good boy"(Lovett, 2012, para. 3). Hedges was left blind in one eye and with permanent brain damage.
4) Patricia Machin
In 2011, Machin's husband Gerrard, was struck by a driver on his way to get the morning paper. After he had not returned home Patricia Machin went out to search for him and found him dead in an ambulance at the scene. Driver Brian Williamson was severly distressed over hitting the man. Machin spoke with him and told him that she harbored no ill as the accident was unintentional. During Williamson's trial, Machin wrote Williamson a letter that stated "However bad it was for me, I realize it was 1,000 times worse for you"(Machin,2011). This letter helped to reduce the charges against Williamson.
3) Anita Smith
Anita and her husband Ronnie had moved to Libya to help the people build a better life. Ronnie Smith was a chemistry teacher in a Benghazi school. On his routine morning jog, Mr. Smith was shot and killed by an unknown attacker. Anita wrote a very loving letter to her husband after his passing. She addressed the gunman and said that "I love you and forgive you". Smith states her reasoning to be the word of the Lord.
2) Charles C. Roberts
In October of 2006, a man armed with 3 weapons walked into an Amish Schoolhouse and tied up all the girls in the class. Charles Roberts let the boys and pregnant teacher leave. As soon as authorities were alerted Roberts opened fire. He killed 5 of the girls and injured more who later died from their injuries. Roberts also killed himself (Folmer, 2013, Para.1). At the funeral of Roberts, the Amish community showed up in an extreme act of forgiveness . The community consoled the widow and even offered financial support during her trying times.
1) Parents of Abdollah Hosseinzadeh
Abdollah Hosseinzadeh had been the victim of a brutal stabbing in a street fight in Iran in 2007. Hosseinzadeh, just 17 years old, was stabbed and killed by a 19 year old boy who was simply known as Balal. Balal was sentenced to death by hanging and Hosseinzadeh's parents were going to be the ones to kick the chair out from under his feet. Seconds before his hanging, the victims parents had a change of heart ( Levs, Ansari,2014). Hosseinzadeh's mother slapped the man in the face and told him he was forgiven. The family of Balal and Hosseinzadeh embraced in a forgiving hug.
Forgiveness may seem hard to find and hard to give.Especially when death is involved. But all mankind can learn a lesson from their stories and extreme forgiveness. By forgiving those who have wronged us, we can slowly build a better humanity.
Brown, Stephen Rex. American teacher Ronnie Smith shot and killed near U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/american-teacher-shot-killed-benghazi-article-1.1538237
Edwards, Ruth Dudley. Humbled by courage of those who forgive. Feb 20, 2013.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/9883398/Humbled-by-the-courage-of-those-who-forgive.html
Folmer, Kaitlyn, Singh, Natasha, Clarke Susan. Amish School Shooter's widow, Marie Monville, Speaks Out. http://abcnews.go.com/US/amish-school-shooters-widow-marie-monville-remembers-tragedy/story?id=20417790
Levs, Josh, Ansari, Azadeh. Photos show victim's mother forgive killer, halts hanging in Iran.http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/17/world/meast/iran-execution-photos-mother-forgives/index.html
Lovett, Edward. Three Stories of Extraordinary Forgiveness.http://abcnews.go.com/US/cases-extraordinary-forgiveness/story?id=16065270#1