For any of you who have attended my Stress Management/Peace Building workshops over the last five years, you have heard me “preach” about forgiveness. As I have reviewed the ten rules for peace management from the “Body By God” book, I ALWAYS take extra time to tell a compelling story about Aurora, and her story of forgiveness, as it blew me away!
So what is this forgiveness thing all about? Well, it is such a powerful part of well-being, that I cannot say enough about it. When we feel wronged, it is so easy for us to hold on, to want revenge, and to hope for bad outcomes to befall the person who has hurt us. But I am reminded that wanting bad outcomes for others, only increases the bad outcomes that befall us.
In the story “Unbroken: A WWII Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” , we see the life story of Louie Zamperini a famous runner from University of Southern California, turned to the military, and crashed on a military plan in the Pacific Ocean. 47 days adrift and finally rescued by a Japanese Navy ship landed him into a covert prisoner camp, where he was held without the distinction of prisoner of war… which led to 2 years of torture.
Years after his release, Zamperini’s life was in shambles. His heart was riddled with anger and hatred, and his life was committed to feelings of bitterness and hopes of revenge. He was at odds with the world, and he had no way of escaping it.
What is absolutely amazing about this story is that the tangible truth, that forgiveness serves yourself more than the person you forgive; that allowing yourself to love as you are loved, is a gift that you give yourself. Zamperini, after receiving Christ into his life, traveled to Japan and was able to directly address many of his captors (who had been imprisoned as war criminals) and in so doing he hugged them, and told them he loved them. In this opportunity he shared his forgiveness for them, and according to accounts of witnesses, the prisoners were shocked and became emotional by his display.
I had the opportunity to hear about this story, and to become finely tuned to Zamperini’s life, by a great sermon that was preached by a member of the Northpoint Community Church pastoral staff, Jeff Henderson. The message did not come to me live, but by streaming video, so sure enough, if you want to learn more about this man’s amazing life, and journey towards forgiveness, you can do it by clicking here.
For those of you reading this in my office, just go to http://www.healthsprout.com/daily-sprout/ when you get home, and you will be able to access this link.
I have found over the years, many times when I have wanted to be vengeful, or hold a grudge. I have had other times when forgiveness has come as second nature. I can tell you, looking back, I am so grateful for the times when forgiveness came easy, and sad when I look back at the times that I let a grudge hold me back for years at a time. If that is you, I hope you will find a way to release it now. Thanks, and God Bless! Dr. E