The power of forgiveness

Whenever a catastrophic event such as suicide or mass shooting occurs, thoughts of despair, anger and justice fill the hearts of people. Investigations and court trials follow such events, and after sentences are handed out, the American public can put that matter at rest and move on from it. These horrible crimes call for action, whether this means placement into a psych ward or behind bars. There is one decision most forget to consider. One that the victim and the victim’s family must face. 

Standing at the podium making a comment at the trial of Bothom Jean, Brandt Jean spoke words of forgiveness to his brother’s killer, Amber Guyger.  

“If you truly are sorry — I know I can speak for myself — I forgive you.” 

Few can dispute the emotional moment in that courtroom Oct. 3. Some view it as a shocking moment, others view it as heartwarming and still more criticize the compassion shown. Regardless of whether Brandt Jean should have forgiven and shown compassion to his brother’s killer, forgiveness can bring peace to those who are wronged.  

There is a lot of hate in America right now. Violent acts, strong political beliefs and hate speech are causing fights all over the country. The Brett Kavanaugh case, 9/11 and the Rodney King incident are just a few examples where disagreements went too far. Situations like these occur mainly due to a hatred of the opposing party. 

Why hasn’t racism died? Because of hate between people of different cultures. Why can’t the republicans and democrats get along and compromise? Because most of them hate what each other stands for and have done to each other for power.  

What would happen though if both sides forgave each other of their immoral acts against each other?

A good example of this is post-World War II Germany. After the Allies invaded Berlin and Adolf Hiter killed himself to end World War II, the U.S. and the Soviet Union decided to rebuild Germany. Now, this was not purely an act of forgiveness to be fair. The political war between democracy and communism caused the split of Germany. The important factor, however, is that neither the U.S. or the Soviets held on to hate by taking revenge on the rest of Germany. Now, Germany is a peaceful country. 

This example can also teach that forgiveness does not need to have a mushy ending where everything can return to normal. It can mean going separate ways to keep the peace.  

Forgiveness should be considered by anyone who is wronged. 

Whether it is deserving in any particular case is a whole different conversation, but the peace it can possibly bring should be something to keep in mind. Continuous hate brings continuous sorrows. Who knows how more forgiveness can change the world in a positive way.