Forgiveness Protects the Victim from Further Pain

Communities Digital News (CDN), Los Altos, CA – Matthew Boger was just a teenager when he found himself living on the streets of West Hollywood in 1980 after having been thrown out of his home for being gay. Because of his sexual orientation, he was brutally beaten one night by a group of neo-Nazi skinheads, including Tim Zaal, who had attached razor blades to his boots prior to kicking Boger in the face and leaving him for dead.

It was shocking that Boger miraculously survived, but even more shocking is what occurred 28 years later when the two happened to meet again by chance in, of all  places, the Museum of Tolerance in downtown Los Angeles. What followed is an unimaginable journey of forgiveness and reconciliation, an improbable collaboration, and a friendship that remains to this day. Anger vs Forgiveness

Their unusual but heartwarming story has now been told in the movie “Facing Fear” which has been nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Documentary Short Subject.”

“The words [he said] and what I saw were far more painful throughout my life than the boots and the blades,” says Boger. “I knew the only way I was going to get past it was to forgive him.”

“To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I could forgive somebody the way he’s been able to forgive me,” Zaal says in the movie.

As the film demonstrates, forgiveness is one of the best tools we have to protect ourselves from further pain, mentally and physically. And as Boger and Zaal’s remarkable example illustrates, the capacity to forgive is not just a nice add-on but can be and should be an indispensable element of our personal and societal well-being. It is also an innate, if latent, quality of thought that can be taught and nurtured.

Read the full story: “Oscar hopeful ‘Facing Fear’ turns spotlight on power of forgiveness.”                          

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