Posts Tagged ‘Forgiveness’

A Rash Decision

February 6, 2012

When you dedicate your life to service and to pleasing God, you may find that you can release resentments you’ve been gripping tightly to for years. Such was the case with my friend Judy, who was surprised and grateful when she discovered that she was able to feel compassion instead of contempt for her mother. Here is Judy’s story in her own words.


My Mom and I had never been close. In fact, there was so much tension between us that when I graduated from college I moved two thousand miles away. So her coming to see me in Denver was a “family get-together” that I dreaded for weeks leading up to her visit. Once she arrived at my little apartment, she slept in my bedroom while I camped out on the sofa. It was a miserable three days. As usual, she criticized me so often that by the end of her stay my ego felt completely eroded. I had lost every trace of self-esteem and self-confidence and felt draped in the drab cloak of depression that had blanketed my childhood.

Three days after my mother returned home, I became violently ill with intolerable night sweats, high fevers, and fatigue that had me sleeping fifteen hours a day. Just a few months after my mother’s visit, I heard from my (more…)

The Name of the Boat

January 31, 2012

Are you having trouble reconciling past experiences in which you either behaved poorly or others behaved poorly toward you? Are you weighed down with so much guilt, regret, anger or emotional pain that you’re having trouble moving on with your life? If so, this simple exercise may help.

Close your eyes and replay the incident in your mind, except this time watch it as an objective observer. While you watch events unfolding, bathe everyone involved as well as the situation itself in love, as if you were a parent sending unconditional love to your child.

If sending love to someone or something so hurtful is difficult for you, know this: You cannot (more…)

Please Call Me by My True Names

December 9, 2011

Thich Nhat Hanh

A friend told me this poem was instrumental in forgiving and healing a traumatic childhood issue. It is powerful indeed. Thich Nhat Hanh‘s message must be considered before we condemn those who have harmed us.

Here is Thich Nhat Hanh’s introduction to his poem:

I have a poem for you. This poem is about three of us. The first is a twelve-year-old girl, one of the boat people crossing the Gulf of Siam. She was raped by a sea pirate, and after that she threw herself into the sea. The second person is the sea pirate, who was born in a remote village in Thailand. And the third person is (more…)

Days Away

December 1, 2011

We often read of family members or friends who have been in conflict for years only to reconcile their differences when one of them is days away from leaving this world. So the question is, if we can forgive and heal at the end of life, why can’t we forgive and heal right now, today?

Imagine your final moments with someone whom you have clashed with for years. Would you remain hiding behind a brick wall of resentment with clenched fists and clenched heart, or would you step out into (more…)

Faith + Forgiveness = Freedom

September 27, 2011

How would you feel if someone pumped five bullets into you and left you for dead? Probably a lot like Stephen Watt of Rock Springs, Wyoming, felt. So how did this former state trooper move past his anger and hatred and find peace? The only way he could—through forgiveness. Watt told his story in the October 2011 issue of Guideposts.

A former state trooper turns to God when his bitter hatred threatens to overwhelm him

Stephen Watt

I shifted on the couch, searching for some way to sit without my legs and back aching. I’d lived—if that was even the word—with this constant pain for four years now. But that was only part of what was bothering me tonight. I sat for an hour, pen poised above a sheet of white notebook paper inside a binder. I needed to write this letter, wanted to believe it could make a difference. But the words wouldn’t come.

It was Marian, my wife, who had urged me to do this. “You can’t go on keeping this inside of you,” she told me. There was plenty I wanted to say. I wanted the slimeball who did this to me to know my agony. I wanted to tell him what he’d taken from me—my job as a Wyoming state trooper, my self-worth, my very will to live.

But the worst was the anger, a raw, festering hatred that smoldered inside of me. If only I’d killed Mark Farnham when (more…)

A Father and Daughter’s Second Chance

July 5, 2011

Forgiveness meets acceptance meets wisdom in this powerful story of healing between a father and daughter. The story, written by Patty Rose of Livermore, California, appeared in Guideposts. May you know the peace and joy of healing any relationships in your life that are in need of it.

She left home at 18, certain she’d never see her father again. Suddenly, with the help of God’s grace, she was caring for him like he’d never done for her.

Patty Rose and her father

The phone call came one cool winter day. It was the manager of the trailer park where my father lived. “Mrs. Rose, something is seriously wrong with your father,” he said. “Would you come down here and check on him?”

It had been a long time since I’d seen my father, and I wasn’t in any hurry to change that. I had left home years ago and never looked back. I married a good man and (more…)

Jason’s Choice

May 18, 2011

If your beloved were killed in an accident by another driver’s carelessness, how would you react? In the May 2011 issue of Guideposts, Jason Hotchkiss of Durango, Colorado, surprises even himself when it comes time to decide the driver’s fate.

After his wife is fatally injured in a car accident, a husband
experiences spritual growth by forgiving the other driver.

The lava rocks glowed red in the fire pit inside my backyard sweat lodge, but I saw only the dark outlines of Chip and Shannon, friends I had turned to for support. A Connecticut Yankee, I’d come to value this sacred Native American tradition, how the intensity of the heat can bring focus and clarity. It was where I’d often felt closest to God. But now I wasn’t sure I’d find him here. We weren’t exactly on speaking terms since the accident six months ago that killed my wife Cassandra, a beloved Navajo activist.

“Lord,” I prayed, my plaintive voice filling the small tentlike enclosure, “please (more…)

Of What Value Is Your Love for God?

January 22, 2011

Reading this inspiring anecdote in Finding the Joy Within You, a collection of talks given by Sri Daya Mata, the longtime president of Self-Realization Fellowship, was an excellent reminder of the power of reframing and the importance of practicing what you preach.

Some years ago, shortly after becoming president, I spoke at a function at one of our Self-Realization Fellowship temples. During the banquet that preceded my talk, a woman I had never seen before was seated near me. She was not a Self-Realization member, but had decided it was her duty to be the critic of our society and its administration.

All evening my mind had been absorbed in the joyous love of Divine Mother. Suddenly, though, this person caught my eye. It was an absolute shock to see what was in her gaze. I realized, “This person hates (more…)

The Redemption of Louie Zamperini

January 19, 2011



Louie Zamperini‘s life story astounds me. I cannot imagine experiencing such pain and trauma, not to mention how he found his way through his bitterness and emerged into the light of forgiveness. This profile by Laura Hillenbrand was in the January 2011 issue of Guideposts. Hillenbrand, author of Seabiscuit, has written a book about Zamperini entitled Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.

Zamperini, who passed away on July 2, 2014 at the age of ninety-seven, wrote his own book, Devil At My Heels, with a co-author in 2004.

Click here to read a Wall Street Journal joint review of Unbroken that focuses on (more…)

Mary Hayes Grieco: The Eight Steps of Forgiveness

January 28, 2010


Mary Hayes Grieco

Mary Hayes Grieco is a respected spiritual teacher in the Twin Cities. She is the author of Be A Light: Illumined Essays for Times Like These, and the director of The Midwest Institute for Forgiveness Training. She has been teaching her practical step-by-step method of forgiveness for twenty years.

Click here to visit Mary’s website.

Click here to (more…)

I Believe In the Sun

December 23, 2009

The concept of forgiveness is harder to swallow when applied to shockingly brutal individual acts and crimes against humanity.

I believe in the sun—even when it does not shine; I believe in love—even when it is not shown; I believe in God—even when He does not speak.
Scratched into a basement wall by a Holocaust victim

People with malicious intentions may exercise their free will by hurting others. God will not directly interfere because, by definition, free will cannot be interfered with. Consequently, God’s plan for each of us must weather continual course corrections; in extreme cases, our life’s plan must be rewritten. Even then, however, karmic forces are at work and angels hover near.

When you mix free will you get certain deviants. . . . You think that just because there is an absence of good, for instance, that evil exists. This is not so. In fact, things are far more intricate.
Lena Lees

It is insensitive at best and cruel at worst to suggest to those who have suffered horrifically that there may be even a modicum of meaning behind unspeakable crimes. And yet, even as we honor another’s grief, it (more…)

We Choose Our Joys and Sorrows

December 22, 2009

As awareness grows, we realize that adversarial relationships are an illusion, and that every difficult encounter has been divinely orchestrated.

Before incarnating, we agreed to participate in situations on earth that would help us learn pivotal lessons, achieve our life’s purpose, and advance our spiritual growth.

We choose our joys and sorrows long before we experience them.
Kahlil Gibran

From this perspective. every quarrel, every betrayal, every hostility becomes a gift, an opportunity to grow and evolve.

If you accept that such sacred contracts exist between (more…)

Do Not Take It Personally

December 21, 2009

Virtually everyone, no matter how horribly misguided they may be, believes that the way they conduct their life is the right way, the best way, and wholly consistent with the way they see the world.

Pardon him; he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
George Bernard Shaw

Therefore, do not take every transgression so personally; the way someone treats you says far less about you than it does about them.

If we could read the secret (more…)

Joy + Love = Young at Heart

December 2, 2009

Samuel Ullman

The secret to looking young is feeling young. And the secret to feeling young is greeting each day with joy and gratitude and treating each person you meet with a loving heart.

As I wrote in an earlier post, the more toxic our system, the more quickly our body ages. That’s why bestselling author Caroline Myss said in a lecture I attended that she decided to forgive a former colleague because her resentment toward him wasn’t worth adding one more wrinkle to her face.

Nineteenth-century educator Samuel Ullman expressed these timeless truths in Youth, his well-known prose poem.


Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means (more…)

No Matter Who You Resent, Relent

August 21, 2009

poisoned-cupResentment is the inability to forgive, for which you pay a steep price. Investing your emotional energy in past events prevents you from living fully in the moment. It saps your life force, ages you, and weakens your immune system.

Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Malachy McCourt

Cling to resentment and you limit your life. You will never be fully present, fully peaceful, or fully happy.

You may argue that your resentment is justified—indeed, that you are entitled to it. Just remember that every hostile thought you fire off acts as a boomerang.

Your righteous anger takes root and stealthily expands, insidiously choking off avenues of peace and love like a cancerous tumor.

The man who opts for revenge should dig two graves.
Chinese proverb

We cannot carry (more…)

Billy Vera: Forgiveness is the Doorway to Heaven

July 11, 2009

Billy Vera

Billy Vera was kind enough to contribute a terrific story about his hit song At This Moment to my book, Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything. But Billy also told me a second story that is both moving and powerful. I’m privileged to present it here for the first time. I’ll start it with a brief introduction:

Singer/songwriter Vera made his first record and wrote a chart hit for Ricky Nelson while still in his teens. In 1985, four years after his band, Billy Vera & the Beaters, had recorded At This Moment,  the song was used in the hit sitcom Family Ties, which rocketed both the song and Vera to stardom, Also an accomplished actor, Vera has appeared in numerous movies and TV shows and is a sought-after voiceover artist. Billy Vera & the Beaters has established itself as the quintessential L.A. band; Hollywood stars and other celebrities frequently attend their shows throughout the So-Cal area. For more information, visit Billy’s website and his MySpace page.

When I was very, very young, maybe nineteen, I hooked up with an older woman of twenty-two. In those days, the kinds of girls you met in nightclubs were kind of low-life. Nice people from good families didn’t go to rock and roll nightclubs. I got involved with this girl and some time later she accused me of fathering a child. Were it to be mine, it would have been the world’s first ten-and-a-half-month pregnancy.

But I was, shall we say, “convicted” of being the father in court and (more…)