I was watching NBC’s Today Show this morning and one of the featured stories really struck a nerve with me.
It was about a couple who decided to forgive their daughter’s killer, a young man who shot her in the head in a fit of rage.
Today Show host Savannah Guthrie said the story wasn’t about forgiveness, but about “radical forgiveness.”
In my several years as religion editor, I’ve done quite a few stories about forgiveness, including several that were just as poignant as this story featured on the Today Show.
For one, there was Brooks Douglass, the former state legislator who forgave the killer of his parents. Many of you already know that he famously chronicled his forgiveness journey in the film he helped write and produce “Heaven’s Rain.”
Then, I was reminded of Cindy Shell, a courageous woman I met in 2008 who forgave the killer of her mother, who was murdered in her Edmond home.
I also think forgiveness resonates within me because I had a heart wound — nothing like a murdered relative or anything like that — but nevertheless a wound. It took me a long time to forgive. It was a process, that’s for sure, and one that could not have been done without faith. But when it happened, when my heart became free of that unforgiveness, it allowed a plethora of positive emotions to take up residence where that unforgiveness had set up camp. It was a profoundly liberating experience, one that I always remember when I am tempted to hold a grudge.
So I totally relate to all the people who say that they forgive because it it is freeing for the person who forgives. My heart goes out to those who have forgiven the people who took their loved one’s lives and I applaud those courageous acts of forgiveness.
This may be the year, I do a more indepth piece on forgiveness and talk to people out in the community who have stories of forgiveness they want to share. If that’s you, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can get started …
Read the Today Show story here. You can also watch the Savannah Guthrie’s interview of the couple whose daughter was murdered.