Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Forgiveness can be a hard pill to swallow

By now the world has heard of the first ever face transplant woman whom in 2004 was shot in the face by her own husband. For years Sherry Blank lived with a terribly disfigured face often scaring children on the streets and labeled a “monster” by strangers. This year she was introduced to the media as the first ever face transplant patient woman.

Blank has spoken about the traumatic day she was shot on several interviews and press conferences with unusual optimism. In a recent interview as she described the trauma she has experienced since the day of her shooting Blank shared something that has shocked many. She forgives and still loves her husband.

Now, she’s using her experience to inspire people to not only forgive but to use a traumatic, life changing experience to motivate and to challenge people not to judge others by face value.

How could she forgive the man who has scarred her for life? How could anyone forgive someone who caused them physical or emotional harm?

Darell Scott, the father of Rachel Scott who was shot and killed in the Columbine tragedy had a choice to make after losing his daughter and watching his son suffer the trauma of surviving. It was an essay titled, “My Ethics, My Codes of Life” about kindness and forgiveness written by Rachel a year prior to her death that caused Scott and his family to forgive the shooters. He is now leading thousands of youth and even adults by his example of extending kindness and mercy to others.

In several interviews throughout his career Tyler Perry, has spoken about the importance of forgiveness. Famous for writing, directing and acting in films that star Madea a feisty grandmother with a whole lot to say. Perry has often credited the start of his success to the time he decided to forgive his father for the physical abuse he inflicted on him throughout his childhood. Perry has appeared and shared his story of forgiveness on shows like “CNN,” “Dr. Phil” and “The View.”

I once heard a minister describe forgiveness like playing with a Yo-Yo. When after you have forgiven you feel the emotions return you extend the Yo-Yo (forgiveness) another time? Sometimes you may have to forgive a person multiple times. Forgiveness can be hard especially when you feel you have not received justice for the harm done to you but in forgiving you are setting yourself free of the emotional burden. “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” Lewis B. Smedes

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