Saturday, October 29, 2011

Woman forgives her brother's murderer


This story told to me by Jim Baier of St. Columban Church in Birmingham, Mi.

A few years ago, a woman stood up in the pews at St. Columban Church during the public prayer time.  She told this story (as recalled by Jim and then, in this blog, by me).

She said that her brother, a gay man, was shot and killed by somebody who was later apprehended, found guilty and sentenced to jail.  For three years, she felt stressfully angry at the murderer for taking away her brother; for taking anybody's life.   The anger consumed her. She thought about it every day, and it became an obsession that started to run down her life.

Then she decided to consider the Christ-inspired practice of forgiveness. After some work, she was able to visit the murderer in jail, face him, and forgive him.
She said that it was an act that freed her from the anger that had become chains for her, and that had started to take away the living from her life.  Subsequently, she found that her spirits lightened and she was able to feel happiness again, and was able to enjoy a much more normal life.
But the positive effect of her act of forgiveness did not stop there.  Jim was speaking about it years later in a Men's Fellowship meeting as an inspiration to him to be more convinced to forgive. He said that all of us finds ourselves, and he too finds himself in situations where he is angry at somebody, and very justifiably so, given the nature of the offense.  But by remembering the woman's story, he can see more clearly that anger can, if we hold on to it, become like a part time job that consumes energy and time, and reduces our ability to tend to other things in life.  He said that her example made it easier to forgive as well.

Now Jim has passed it on to us.

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