Most of us have heard the term “forgiveness.” But how many of us actually know what it really is? Contrary to popular belief, forgiveness isn’t a noun. And, it isn’t something you can bestow upon someone else. Rather, it is a verb. Forgiveness is the action that results from acknowledging that something — or someone — did you wrong. And despite all that, it is deciding you will grant the situation — or them — your blessing.
Perhaps surprising to some is the fact that forgiveness is most healing to the individual letting go of the situation, or past hurt. This is why many many Masters — including Jesus and Buddha — dedicated themselves to teaching about the art of forgiveness. If the concept is still difficult to grasp, perhaps you can learn from the following story in which a mourning father forgives the man who killed his son.
Earlier this week in Lexington, Kentucky, a sentencing hearing was held for a man named Troy Relford. In 2015, Relford was involved in the robbery and death of 22-year-old Salahuddin Jitmound.
During the trial, Salahuddin’s father, Jitmound, addressed the judge and those who were present. However, his testimony was incredibly surprising. This is because instead of condemning Relford, he publicly forgave him.
Said Jitmound: “I’m angry at the devil, who is misguiding you and misleading you to do such a horrible crime. I don’t blame you. I’m not angry at you. I forgive you.”
WLEX reports that Relford, who was in tears, responded: “There’s not much I can really say. I’m sorry about what happened that day. I cannot do [anything] to give that back to you.”
To everyone’s surprise, Jitmoud then embraced Relford in the middle of the courtroom. The judge had to call for a recess, as the ordeal was too emotional, reports GoodNewsNetwork.
The hearing ended with Relford being sentenced to 31 years in prison. Though this might seem like the end of the line for him, it isn’t. He now has the opportunity to “do good deeds” — as Jitmound suggested — while in prison, and to build a better future for when he is released.
Watch the touching video below:
The Science of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is not an abstract concept; it is a decision that results in mental, emotional and physical benefits. For those who doubt, look to the science.
In one study, Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, a psychologist at Hope College, asked people about the times they had been hurt, mistreated or offended. As they recollected on the past offense, she monitored their heart rate, facial muscle tensions, and sweat gland activity. The psychologist documented noticeable physical differences.
For instance, while reminiscing about past hurts, the participants’ physical arousal soared, their blood pressure and heart rate increased, and they sweated more. When Witvliet asked the people to practice forgiveness, their physical arousal decreased, their stress reaction disappeared, and their high heart rate and blood pressure normalized.
It takes great mental strength to forgive. Do you have what it takes, like Jitmound? Please comment your thoughts below and share this news!