A Powerful Lesson on Forgiveness
My father taught me a powerful lesson on forgiveness.
His own father was a mining engineer and his family lived in the
Philippines prior to World War II. They were captured by the Japanese
and incarcerated there during World War II. He, his mother and sisters
were sent to a prison camp at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila
where they remained until the Philippine Islands were freed at the end
of the war. His father, an enlisted man, was separated from the family
and imprisoned with captured military personnel.
My dad was a teenager at the time. He, like other prisoners, struggled
to survive. To keep from starving, he learned to eat his small, daily
rations of rice without first removing the carcasses of worms in the
bowl. But he ate better than most prisoners - he worked as an orderly
in the prison hospital and, on occasion, was able to finish leftover
food from patients. Though almost six feet tall, when he was finally
freed he weighed only 95 pounds.
Life was difficult there by any standards. Numerous prisoners became
ill and many died. Anger and bitterness toward their captors abounded.
For years, even decades, after their eventual release from the prison
camp, the men and women of Santo Tomas (like other prisoners of war)
felt a smoldering bitterness toward the people who incarcerated them.
My father lost almost everything. His family lost their home. They
lost their possessions. And harder still, they lost their freedom. But
he also lost his father. My grandfather did not survive his captivity.
Yet I never heard my dad express any anger or resentment toward the
Japanese soldiers or the Japanese people. Just the opposite. He taught
me to regard ALL people with respect. He taught me to honor people of
all races, nationalities and religions. He knew that bitterness only
kept his wounds open and infected. Like a disease, his festering
resentments could even infect others. And they could kill.
Alexander Pope has said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine." But
that is not accurate. It's better said, "To err is human, but to
forgive is human, too." Forgiveness is not an option for human beings.
Forgiveness is essential for our health as individuals and necessary
if we are to live together. To err is human, but to forgive is human,
too. Perhaps to be perfect is divine. But to forgive is one of the
most human things we can do.
And its never too soon to do something so very human.
Spiritual Math - A Thousand Blessings
Mercy is more than charity, for it not only gives benefits but it receives and pardons again and again - even the
The Heart to Forgive
It is one thing to “say” that we forgive someone, it is quite another to actually do it. Forgiveness is not a state of mind; it is a state of the heart. Being able to forgive someone from a heart level is not something that comes to us naturally. The challenge that we face is in getting our hearts to a point where we can accomplish this.