I have written on this topic before but I don’t think we can ever talk about the topic of forgiveness.

Last year, a couple was stopped on the side of the road to change a tire on their camper. A young man was coming up the highway from a concert and, although we are not sure what happened but he ended up swerving off the road and hitting and killing both of the people on the side of the road.

The remarkable thing about this story is the day the young man was sentenced for this the family members spoke about how they forgave him for this. I am amazed at the capacity of people to forgive others. I am not sure I would be able to do that. Often times we forget about the victims of things like this. Not only the ones killed but those that are left behind on both sides of the issue.

A few years ago, a gunman opened fire on students and faculty at Virginia Tech. Part of my training is in crisis counseling so I was sent to the Tech to work with the students there. On the day we arrived we found the memorial in the center of the campus. Each person killed had their name and a candle. As we worked our way around the circle the last name was for the killer himself. Yes the killer was a victim as well, a different sort of victim yes, but a victim none the less.

Restorative Justice is about putting people together who are the victims of crime with the person who committed the crime. Part of the idea is for forgiveness to happen. Hatred is a horrible thing and it eats away at the soul of the person who is filled with it. The idea is to bring the people together to tell their stories. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting there is a difference. Forgiveness is for us, not necessarily for the person who committed the crime. If we can release and let go of that anger we can, and I hate this phrase, move on with our life. This is not easy, and not for everyone.

Much more energy is used in maintaining hatred then in not hating. If something has happened in your life and you have not forgiven the person, give it a try. I can almost guarantee that you will feel better.

1 Comment

  1. I agree that forgiveness is not easy, however, it was what brought me peace after my 17 year old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. No lasting peace came until I was able to forgive. It did take me four years before I was able to do that. If interested, you can read about it at

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