The Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO – An American survivor of two terrorist attacks has a message for the assailants:“I forgive you.”
Mason Wells, a 20-year-old missionary from Sandy, Utah, was a short distance from one of the two bombs that exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three spectators and wounding 260 others. Neither he nor his mother, who was running in the race, was injured.
Three years later, Wells was only 10 feet from the first bomb to explode at the Zaventem International Airport in Brussels, Belgium during a terrorist attack that killed 32 people and injured about 260 others. Wells suffered extensive burns to his face and hands, shrapnel wounds to his head, and blast wounds to his lower legs.
Yesterday, Dec. 15, 2017, Wells delivered a powerful message to the terrorists in an op-ed videohe recorded for the New York-based media company Mic. Addressing the Belgium attackers, Wells said:
“What you did was evil. You killed innocent people and meaningful lives.
I still carry scars from that day, but I have chosen to forgive you. I have learned that the decision to forgive is ours and ours alone.
By forgiving you and getting past the events of that day, I’ve become a stronger person. It’s about letting go of yesterday and not letting the hardest moments of our lives define us. I want you to know that good has come in the wake of your evil acts.”
Wells recently wrote a book, Left Standing, about his ordeal. In it, he outlines how he learned to forgive the Brussels attackers for their atrocities. He’s now enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he’s studying engineering.
Mirror, London, United Kingdom – Actor Kelsey Grammer’s younger sister Karen was only 18-years-old when she was raped and murdered by a serial killer in 1976. Although Grammer has carried that tragic loss in his heart for more than 40 years, he says that forgiveness is the only thing that has kept the horrific crime from destroying his life.
The much-loved star, who is best known for playing Dr Frasier Crane in television sitcoms Frasier and its predecessor Cheers, was the one who had to identify Karen’s body after her death. He said that, while he will always remember the “joy” of knowing her, he would not “let it disrupt me or destroy me.”
“As long as I’m alive I will miss her, and that’s just the way it is. So you carry that,” Grammer said. “I think you always carry it, because what you miss about them, is them in your life.”
Grammer added that forgiveness was a process that didn’t happen quickly for him and that it works together with justice.
“I’ve learned to forgive. I’ve even told the guy that is still alive that killed her that I do forgive him, although I don’t advocate for his freedom, I don’t think that’s reasonable.”
The actor, now 62, is currently starring in Big Fish The Musical at The Other Palace Theatre in London’s West End. He played Dr Frasier Crane for 20 years across the two TV comedy shows for which he won four Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes as a lead actor.#
“Robert Enright, PhD, is a pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness,” LaBianca outlines in the prelude to her article. “Here, he breaks down his four-phase model that has helped countless patients overcome anxiety, depression, and resentment, by allowing them to truly forgive.”
While forgiving will indeed require some effort, you don’t need a mental health professional to lead you down the path of forgiveness, according to the article. It’s something you can achieve on your own, as long as you know which steps to take.
Here are the 12 forgiveness process steps LaBianca explains in her article:
Know that forgiveness is available to everyone
Decide you want to choose forgiveness
Make a list
Uncover your anger
Commit to forgiveness
Consider the other person’s wounds
Consider other person’s humanity
Feel a softening
Bear the pain
Give the person a gift
Begin the discovery phase
Repeat, repeat, repeat
“When we’ve been treated deeply unfairly by others, we should have the tools to deal with that so the effects of that injustice don’t take hold in an unhealthy way,” says Dr. Enright. Following the forgiveness process steps will provide you with those tools.
Following on the heels of a remarkably successful forgiveness conference in Jerusalem, the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) is now preparing for its next international conference–this one on January 18, 2018 in Rome, Italy.
The Rome Conference on Forgiveness is a one-day forum that starts at 2:30 pm and concludes at 7:00 pm at the University of Santa Croce (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce), adjacent to the famous Piazza Navona.
“This first-of-its-kind conference in Rome will explore what it means to forgive another person who has been unjust to you,” according to Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the IFI, who is organizing this conference just as he did the one in Jerusalem. “Important ideas on how to help children and adolescents learn to forgive will be presented by international experts in the field of forgiveness education.”
Dr. Enright added that the theme of forgiving within the Abrahamic traditions will be another important topic with a focus on helping youth within those traditions learn to forgive. Dr. Enright has developed Forgiveness Education Curriculum Guides for students in pre-school through 12th Grade. Those Guides are now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.
Distinguished speakers at The Rome Conference on Forgiveness and their topics include:
Dr. Robert Enright, the acknowledged pioneer in the social scientific study of forgiveness, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, and Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, USA, will discuss the science of forgiveness education.
Annette Shannon of Holy Cross Girls Primary School in Belfast, Northern Ireland will focus on the direct application of forgiveness education in her school.
Dr. Barbara Marchica, Catholic theologian, pastoral counselor, and teacher in Milan, Italy will examine forgiveness and forgiveness education in a Christian context.
Peta Pellach of the Elijah Interfaith Institute in Jerusalem will give a talk on forgiveness and forgiveness education in an Orthodox Jewish context.
Omar Al-Barazanch, the new Iraqi ambassador to the Vatican, will discuss the theme of forgiving from the Islamic perspective.
Alison Sutherland of the Rotary Action Group for Peace will explore worldwide issues of forgiveness particularly for youth in war-torn areas.
Grammenos Mastrojenni of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Honorable Paola Binetti of the Italian Parliament will give talks on how forgiveness can be part of dialogue and political discourse.
Mons Mariano Fazio, Vicar General of Opus Dei, will discuss the teachings on charity and forgiveness of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.
You can now access the answers to all those questions from the comfort of your own home.
Dr. Robert Enright, dubbed “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine, has helped thousands of people improve their lives by discovering and learning how to practice forgiveness through his one-day in-person workshops. Now that same remarkable forgiveness process, presented by Dr. Enright himself, is available to you via recorded audio right in your own home.
Forgiveness: A Pathway to Emotional Healing
Based on his 33-years of peer-reviewed, empirical scientific research, Dr. Robert Enright will help you discover and learn a step-by-step pathway to forgiveness. This 6-hour audiotaped workshop will enable you to develop confidence in your forgiveness skills and learn how you can bring forgiveness to your family, school, work place and community for better emotional health.
“Forgiveness is a process, freely chosen, in which you willingly reduce resentment through some hard work and offer goodness of some kind toward the one who hurt you,” according to Dr. Enright. “This gives you a chance to live a life of love, compassion and joy.”
Dr. Enright explains during this workshop how you can learn and use that process to help yourself and others. He explains, for example that:
• Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation, forgetting, excusing or condoning.
• Forgiveness does not get rid of the injustice but the effects of the injustice.
• Forgiveness cuts across many different philosophies and religions.
• The benefits of forgiveness are significant: scientific analyses demonstrates that considerable emotional, relational, and even physical health benefits result from forgiving.
Pretoria North Reckford Community Newspaper Group, Nelspruit, South Africa –
“You can’t get angry, you have to forgive.”
That is what Ryno Mulder says has enabled him to cope with the gut-wrenching turbulence he and his wife Verna have experienced over the past five weeks since their eight-month-old daughter Mienke stopped breathing when she choked on a bottle.
Mienke was being fed in her caregiver’s arms when the girl started turning blue from lack of oxygen and lost consciousness. She was resuscitated at a nearby hospital before being airlifted to a Johannesburg hospital where she has been since the incident on August 25.
MRI scans show that Mienke has suffered severe brain damage and is believed to be blind. Her doctors fear that she will be unable to walk or talk. On Monday (Sept. 18) a feeding tube was inserted in her stomach.
“No parent should go through this; I would not wish this on anyone,” Ryno said. “We are still going through a roller coaster of emotions and everyone’s support has been helpful.”
More than 26,000 people are following Mienke’s progress on the“Please Pray for Mienke” Facebookgroup that Verna and Ryno have set up. Hundreds have also donated funds to help with ongoing medical and rehab costs. To assure those donors that their funds will be spent solely on the little bundle who has crawled so deep into people’s hearts, Ryno said a MienkeMulder Trust Fund has been established at StandardBank which has offices in 20 countries on the African continent.
Because he didn’t want her to be blamed or criticized, Ryno would not reveal the name of either Mienke’s caregiver or the creche (day nursery) where the incident happened. “You can’t get angry, you have to forgive,” he repeated.
On Wednesday of last week, Mienke opened her eyes for the first time since choking on the bottle, giving the entire Mulder family hope and a reason to stay positive.
Read more about Mienke and her family in these Lowvelder Media (South Africa) articles:
Are you are still holding on to a grudge, whether from yesterday or years ago? Are you still beating yourself up for some bad decision(s) you made in the past?
“If so, find compassion and forgiveness in your heart (it’s actually in your brain) and you will be healthier and happier.”
That’s the advice of 90-year-old Dr. NatashaJosefowitz, an internationally-known author and consultant who has spent her life educating herself and others.
“This issue (holding on to past hurts) can impact our own health,” Dr. Josefowitz wrote in a recent HUFFPOST article. “We know that anger is stressful, and stress releases cortisol which narrows our arteries, which in turn can cause heart problems.”
Behind every destructive behavior is some unresolved pain that is then acted out. Dr. Natasha Josefowitz,
“It is only when we can feel compassion that we can forgive,” Dr. Josefowitz adds. “Studies have confirmed that forgiving increases optimism and elevates mood whereas lack of it correlates with depression and anxiety. Forgiveness even increases blood flow to the heart.”