“Unforgiveness is like cancer, it will eat you from the inside out.”
Are you a forgiving person?
Can you forgive like Mary Johnston, the woman in the video below?
Mary is a resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1993 she experienced a tragedy.
During an argument at a party, her only son Laramiun was shot to death. He was 20 years old.
The killer was 16-year-old Oshea Israel. Tried as an adult and found guilty, Oshea was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
A journey of forgiveness
But the story didn’t end there. Mary was a devout Christian and after many years decided to forgive her son’s killer. She began visiting Oshea in prison on a regular basis, and eventually developed a close relationship with him.
So close, in fact, that when Oshea was released from prison after serving 17 years of his sentence, she convinced her landlord to allow Oshea to live in her own apartment building…next door.
The two of them don’t just live close to each other, they are close. Oshea became almost like a second son to Mary.
The power of forgiveness
Mary’s life is like a living parable illustrating the power of forgiveness. There are different kinds of prisons. While Oshea languished in a physical prison, Mary more than likely experienced an emotional prison of her own that, by her own admission, ate her up from the inside.
Through forgiveness she realized it was better to love your enemies, move beyond past hurtful events, and let go of the pain they cause.
Forgiving others will heal your wounded emotions and in some circumstances even bring physical healing.
Did Jesus give unrealistic goals?
Many people assume that Jesus’ Sermon of the Mount shares merely unrealistic ideals that cannot be fulfilled in real life. When we hear Jesus say, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44) it would be easy to assume this a nice idea but impossible in real life.
Mary Johnston proves that notion false. There was nothing easy about her journey of forgiveness, but she has genuinely crossed over from initial anger and resentment to loving Oshea in spite of what he did to her son and the effect it has had on her life.
Although Mary experienced justified anger, she could see that withholding forgiveness was hurting her. Mary describes her unforgiveness as a cancer that was eating her up from the inside. She forgave not for Oshea’s benefit but for her own.
A course on forgiveness
During the final weeks of the Year of Mercy, the Bishop Helmsing Institute is offering 4Given: A Four-Phase Model of Forgiveness.”
The 4Given workshop will introduce you to a scientifically tested program of forgiveness designed to set you free. It’s based on the work of Catholic psychologist and forgiveness expert Robert Enright.
Using Enright’s proven methodology, we’ll give you a step-by-step plan to free yourself from the painful state of unforgiveness. So far, over 370 people have joined us in this process.
Why continue to suffer? This program has helped people find freedom from anger, resentment, bitterness, and self-destructive behavior patterns.
Join us and begin your journey of forgiveness.
Image credit: “Silhouette of man with raised hands over blur cross concept for” by golfmhee, Abobe Stock, Standard licence.