The Wounded Do the Wounding

Think about one person who has hurt you. Is it possible that the person hurt you out of his or her own woundedness? In other words, is there something in his or her past that he or she is carrying, something so painful that the wounds were thrown onto you?

I do not ask this for you to find an excuse or to “let it go.” What happened to you was wrong, is wrong, and always will be wrong. There are no excuses here, but there may be wounds he or she suffered.

I ask so that you can understand him or her a little more deeply.

Might the one who wounded the one who wounded you have been wounded by still another person? If we trace it back far enough, we could have a long line of people who have wounded the next one in line, who wounded the next one, all the way up to you, who was wounded and did not deserve it.

Please try to picture the truth inside this person. If he or she has been unjustly wounded by another, I ask you to see it.


Seeing Beyond the Tears

Sometimes when we are caught up in grief and anger, it seems like this is all there will ever be now in our life. Permanent tears. Permanent anger.

Yet, please take a look at two different File:Blue-tears-eye-ball2.jpgtimes in your life in which you were steeped in heartache or rage. The tears came…..and they left.

Today it may seem like these will never end…..but they will.

Take a lesson from your own past. The pains were temporary.

They are temporary even now.

Forgiveness helps them to be temporary.


Trayvon Martin’s Mother: “God is healing my heart”

Daily Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, MA – After more than a year on the front page of newspapers and journals with cameras continually in their faces as the murder/manslaughter prosecution wended its way towards an eventual acquittal, Trayvon Martin’s parents are amazing the world with their public grace and forbearance.

“I wouldn’t have applied for this position, but I gracefully accept,” says Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton. “I am going to do the best job I can and try to help other families.

Are there any circumstances under which she could forgive George Zimmerman? “Yes,” she says.

“The spiritual side of me knows that eventually I will have to forgive him so that I don’t block my blessings. I know that. Am I ready to do that now? I am not. That’s something I pray for. I pray for my forgiveness. Because just like I want God to forgive me, I want to forgive others. But, I’m just not at that point right now where I can say that I want to forgive him. God is healing my heart,” she says.

In the meantime, Sybrina says she wants all of us to “remain peaceful.”

Read the full story: “Sybrina Fulton’s Forgiveness”

I am 48 years old. My parents were both neglectful and abusive to me and my 2 siblings. If they were parents today, they would have been arrested and their behavior had profound negative impact on all three of their children. My parents have never admitted or apologized for what they did and instead created a sort of fantasy story that they tell about our childhood. All 5 people involved know the stories are untrue. Me and my siblings have, in some form, reconciled with our parents and they have been excellent grandparents. The probelm is, I have trouble forgiving them because they often revert to harmful behavior (which brings the memories and emotions flooding back) and they do not acknowledge what they did many decades ago. Is the “perpetrator’s” admission required and is having no contact or relationship compatible with forgiveness?

They “have been excellent grandparents.” This may be the key to your question. At the same time, you say that your parents “often revert to harmful behavior.” Are you willing to write back and give some specific examples of “harmful behavior”? We can keep those behaviors confidential if you wish. I am trying to discern whether what you call “harmful behavior” is indeed harmful or whether current behavior which is not necessarily harmful is triggering a classical conditioning response in you. The distinction between “harmful” and “triggering a classical conditioning response” is very important for us to make because the conclusion may determine whether or not you and your children interact with your parents again.

Minneapolis Mom Forgives Her Son’s Murderer

CBS News/Blueprint for Life website – Mary Johnson, a 59-year-old teacher’s aide was justifiably distraught when her only son, 20-year-old Laramiun Byrd, was shot to death at a party in 1993. The killer was 16-year-old O’Shay Israel.

“I wanted Justice,” Johnson said. “He was an animal. He deserved to be caged.”

And he was. Israel was sentenced to 25 1/2 years in prison. He served 17 years before being released earlier this year. In a strange twist of fate that demonstrates the power of forgiveness, Israel now lives next door to Johnson in a North Minneapolis apartment building–an arrangement set up by Johnson’s appeal to her landlord.

“Unforgiveness is like cancer. It will eat you from the inside out,” says Johnson. “Me forgiving him does not diminish what he has done. Yes, he murdered my son. But the forgiveness is for me. It’s for me.”

Johnson met with Israel several times before he was released from Minnesota’s Stillwater State Prison and eventually forgave him. Now??Israel and Johnson together sing the praises of forgiveness at prisons, churches and before large audiences throughout the Midwest.

Watch the CBS News video: The Power of Forgiveness

Power and Forgiveness: A Clash of World Views

How did the quest for power and money become the primary goals of Western societies? What thief in the night changed people’s hearts so that profit is to-die-for? Perhaps I exaggerate, but I doubt it. Do we admire those who work in soup kitchens or those who own the buildings across the city from the soup kitchen?

Do we admire the ones who care for the dying or those who can put a round ball into a round hoop and make a lot of money for doing that?

If we had the chance to be the boss or the servant, which would we choose? And do we ever think more broadly these days: that the boss ought to be the greatest servant?

I am open to correction, but I do not think I exaggerate. Money, influence, power vs. service, love, and humility.

Forgiveness includes a world view that clashes with contemporary culture. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, anticipated this shift when he said that the weak forgive, the strong dominate.

Yet, forgiveness speaks truth to power. Forgiveness tells power that it will not last. Forgiveness will abide and be in this world long after the powerful meet their biological end.

Forgiveness as a counter-move to power can actually enhance well-being while power yearns for more, well, power.

Power’s ultimate goal is bankrupt. What will one do once one’s goal of power and money are fulfilled? What is the ultimate point of it all? Forgiveness’ ultimate goal is love, to put more love into the world and into hearts, including one’s own.

A clash of world views. Which would you like to see win?


My cousin says that she forgives me for something I did about a year ago, but when I am around her she seems like she has an attitude toward me now. I think she has not forgiven me. Should I bring this up to her or just let it go?

It seems that you already have been patient, waiting for her to reduce the resentment, but it is not happening. It is time to first forgive her for her unforgiveness and then gently approach her about it. It seems that she still has work to do to completely forgive you. You might want to ask her to forgive you and then wait patiently for her to accomplish the task.