Monday, July 30, 2007

A Victim's Forgiveness that is Inspiring

I recently read a story in the Hearld (UK) about a young man in Edinburgh who went out with a friend to a nightclub one evening to go drinking. At three in the morning the two men walked to the George IV Bridge. They were laughing anc carrying on when one of them picked up a traffic cone and threw it over a railing of the bridge falling to the street below. A young Irish woman was on that street visiting with a friend when her life dramatically changed in an instant. The cone knocked her unconscious and paralyzed her. She ended up with a broken leg, a fractured skull and three broken vertebrae. The doctors feared that she would never walk again.

The case did go to court. The man did not go to jail but was ordered to carry out 180 hours of community service. One may ask "why did the judge not jail him?" It was because of the injured woman's plea to spare this man of prison. She also said that"I have forgiven this man and decided in the first few days that I wasn't going to be angry with him and was going to focus my energies on getting better." She showed great courage.

What can we learn from this woman? Research has shown us that when we hold on to anger and hate it can affect our bodies in a very negative way sending hormones in our body which raise our blood pressure and affect our cardiovascular system and other systems negatively as well. When we chose to forgive the opposite is true. In such cases forgiveness is a very pragmatic approach to life and one that this woman chose to take. On a deeper level this woman transcended her bitterness and handed this man a second chance to make a better life. What an incredible act of grace that only someone who has experienced the power of forgiveness can do.

Eileen Borris
author of Finding Forgiveness

No comments: