Words of Hope: Freedom

Our family traveled to India last week to work with those in severe poverty. I wore my Dad’s t-shirt – Relentless Pursuit of Excellence (one of his favorite phrases), a shirt my brother created in his honor. I knew my Dad would have loved India—the warmth and especially the courage of the people. Shann and I spoke to many people about the tools Dad had given us growing up—namely love and forgiveness.

One of the service workers who works with young women in brothels said to us, “Many of the women don’t see a value in forgiving those who have hurt them. What would you tell them?” Dad was asked this question often at NBC Camps. He would say as we did that bitterness is the poison we drink in the hope of harming someone else. Forgiveness is about freedom. As we forgive those who harm us, we find our spirit, our mind, our time, our attention, our memories, and our future. Desmond Tutu who helped create the Truth and Reconciliation Counsel to navigate the horrors of Apartheid said, “There is no future without forgiveness.”

When we live in unforgiveness, we carry in our minds, hearts, time and attention the harm others have done to us. Forgiveness is not letting perpetrators off the hook, but letting our lives enter a space of peace and healing. 

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:14