Power of Forgiveness

exploring the power and nature of forgiveness

Forgiveness is God’s power to remove barriers, to lift burdens, to loosen bonds, and to set people free. It is the expression and the experience of God’s radical grace…

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Fidelity

A decade ago, on an early December day, I received a call from the local funeral director.  A man from the neighboring town had died after an extended illness.  He was a Vietnam veteran who had long suffered symptoms of trauma from his war experience.  The family had no pastor: was I available?  I was grateful for the opportunity. Meeting with his family, I received a deeper sense of the man, his substance, the impact of his life on those closest to him. What I remember most vividly, however, are his memorial service and the viewing that was held the night before.  The latter took place at the funeral home, and was filled with fellow veterans.  They were transparent in their woundedness, comforting the family...

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Blog

  • Mourning as an Act of Courage and Resistance

    “Trauma inevitably brings loss . . . The survivor frequently resists mourning , not only out of fear but also out of pride. She may consciously refuse to grieve as a way of denying victory to the perpetrator. In this case it is important to reframe the (person’s) mourning as an act of courage rather than humiliation. To the extent that the (person) is unable to grieve, she is cut off from a part of herself and robbed of an important part of her healing. Reclaiming the ability to feel the full range of emotions, including grief, must be understood as an act of resistance rather than submission to the perpetrator’s intent. Only through mourning everything she has lost can (she) discover her indestructible inner...

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  • At the Bottom of Things, Love

    “Sometimes, in order to be human, we have to hold G-d fully accountable, for existence, for sin, for suffering. And then we discover, like Job, at the bottom of things there is only this accountability, limitless, for everything, everlasting, otherwise known as love. But to get there we have to be human first, like Jesus.” –Anthony Bartlett

  • Remembrance, Forgiveness, and the Witness of Psychosocial Hope

      “Why is it worth it to continue?,” Patricia Garcia, President of CoMadres in El Salvador, is asked. Paty responds as a survivor of abduction, rape, and torture. She speaks as someone who had to flee from the threat of death even as a child, and as the citizen of a nation still bearing the wounds of horrific violence; someone who has lost family, friends, and fellow members of her community along the way. Yet there is more to her story. From her tender years she was also nurtured in a different way of life, a path of fidelity and love, and she grew to become a key leader in an unquenchable movement for justice and healing in her beautiful and broken land. In this...

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  • Reflections on Forgiveness in the Wake of Charleston

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    “You took something precious away from me . . . I will never talk to her again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you and have mercy on your soul. You hurt me and you hurt a lot of people. But I forgive you.” The gracious words from the daughter of Ethel Lance to Lance’s murderer, Dylann Roof, are enough to make one gasp in awe, or perhaps even horror. Roof stood motionless in a video bail hearing as family members of his victims addressed him. “We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible Study with open arms,” Felicia Sanders, mother of 26-year-old Tywanzaa Sanders, reminded Roof;”You have killed some of the beautifullest people that I know. Every fiber...

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