I know someone who says:
“If we want to enjoy the release that comes from being forgiven we have to be willing to forgive others.”
Towards the end of the civil war in Sierra Leone I visited a boys’ home that a remarkable friend of mine had established for children affected by war. I discovered that sleeping in the same dormitory he had ex boy soldiers together with the orphans of families that had been their victims. I was amazed to find those that had suffered at their hands sleeping in the same place and I said to my friend: “Surely this must give rise to serious tensions”, his answer was: “Ah, you see we have discovered the power of forgiveness”.
The evidence of that can be seen today, these years later, when some of those ex-boy soldiers are now running the projects, the boys’ home, school and church community in that same place and doing an excellent job.
We often hear of the power of love but I wonder if the power of forgiveness is not the second most powerful force in the universe.
This subject often leads to heated debate between punishing people responsible for their crimes and forgiving and restoring. Of course they are consequences for committing offences.
I was asked: “If forgiveness is so available why can’t I rob a bank and then just get forgiven?”.
I said: “You could, indeed you could enjoy forgiveness every day for the next 20 years that you spend in prison as a consequence of your action!”.
Forgiveness sometimes sounds attractive and sometimes repulsive (can those who recently shot down the Malaysian Airways aircraft actually be forgiven?)
More particularly, is it possible to actually forgive? Is it true that if you forgive you gain more release than the person you forgive?
Talking about this in Sierra Leone with the wounds of war being so recent, a lady said: “Are you saying it is possible to forgive the man I see every day that I know killed my father?”
I said: “Naturally no, it is not possible, but there is a way”.
I know someone who can help us achieve that.
But of course it comes with a price …