Monday, June 4, 2012

Forgiveness Is Not An Emotion, It is a Decision

Life is full of twists and turns and we never know what a day may bring.  This past week my daughter was robbed and my neighbor of 19 years passed away.  I felt so many emotions sweep through me in just 24 hours.  When life hits you with a blow, there's a difference between when it hits another family verses when it hits your own family.  I've also learned that when you stand for something you are constantly being tested!

After I received the call from my daughter and I knew she was okay, I told her to hang up and call the police and her apartment complex management company.  Then my son and I jumped in the car and drove out to be with her and to see exactly what was going on.  As a mother "bear", I had to make sure my "cub" was safe.  When we arrived the police were there doing their investigation and the property management company sent out a handyman to board up the window the intruders broke into and change the locks on her door.  While we were standing there, looking around the place assessing  the damage the intruders did, all I could say was "thank you Lord for protecting my child!"

As usual, my mind took me back to my philosophy on forgiveness.  Once I knew my daughter was okay, I began to tell her we have to be grateful  she was not harmed, broken things can be fixed and stolen things can be replaced, but I could never have another her!  Next, I told her we had to pray for the individual(s) that did this.  Hurt and desperate people do desperate things.  Although I DO NOT condone what this person did, I know that we have to learn to forgive.  Forgiveness DOES NOT mean a perpetrator should go free and not be held accountable. Justice helps with the process of forgiveness, but forgiveness is not based on an emotion, but rather a choice or decision.

A few  days after the incident, I was reading and I ran across a story from Holocaust Survivor, Corrie ten Boom.  Her family died in the concentration camps during the war and later when she survived, she began a ministry of forgiveness helping other survivors.  One day when she was speaking at an event, she came face to face with one of the guards from Ravensbruck, the concentration camp where she and her sister were held.  After she completed her speech, the guard came up to her and told her he was touched by her speech, then he extended his hand and asked her for forgiveness.  He did not remember her specifically, but he still wanted to seek her forgiveness.  Although it was hard for Corrie to take his hand, eventually she did.  Later she shared that forgiveness is an act of the will and that our emotions don't always align with our choices.  I'm grateful we are alive to be the ones that have the opportunity to forgive.

Healing Without Hate:  It's a choice. It's a lifestyle. Pass it on!

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