THE FOR­GIVE­NESS CHAIN

Activated - - NEWS - BY ANNA PERLINI ANNA PERLINI IS A COFOUNDER OF PER UN MONDO MIGLIORE, 3 A HU­MAN­I­TAR­IAN OR­GA­NI­ZA­TION AC­TIVE IN THE BALKANS SINCE 1995.

I’VE AL­WAYS BEEN IM­PRESSED BY PEO­PLE WHO CAN FOR­GIVE. When I was a kid, it was that friend at school who didn’t get back at oth­ers when they made fun of his awk­ward ways and pim­ply face. Later on, I had to learn to for­give when my boyfriend left me for no ap­par­ent rea­son and with­out ex­pla­na­tion. Then fol­lowed mar­riage, which of­fered end­less op­por­tu­ni­ties to for­give and be for­given. Work­ing as part of a team has also been a good plat­form to prac­tice for­give­ness.

The truth is, I’m quite easy­go­ing and gen­er­ally pre­fer to live and let live rather than get into con­fronta­tions and feel re­sent­ful. But could I for­give some­one who killed one of my loved ones? Or if I was un­justly de­tained in jail for years? Or if war had de­stroyed my house and my city, and I had to flee and be­come a refugee—and then be looked upon sus­pi­ciously by most peo­ple? I don’t know. It’s good to know that mankind has seen such for­giv­ing peo­ple, who can stand as bea­cons of hope. From Je­sus to count­less mis­sion­ar­ies and ac­tivists, to the Amish par­ents who for­gave and helped the fam­ily of the man who killed their kids, to the

1 more re­cent ex­am­ple of Father Boules Ge­orge fol­low­ing the two bomb­ings in Tanta and Alexan­dria, Egypt, that left 44 Chris­tians dead and more than 100 wounded on Palm Sun­day 2017. His ser­mon ex­pressed for­give­ness for those who killed the vic­tims and a call for be­liev­ers to pray for them to see the light and ex­pe­ri­ence God’s un­con­di­tional love.2

It never ceases to amaze me how along­side such cruel peo­ple who com­mit such heinous crimes, there are in­di­vid­u­als who are ca­pa­ble of for­give­ness that seems to defy logic. Hate begets hate, but love begets love, and God’s love has the power to ini­ti­ate a cy­cle of love, in­stead of death.

I be­lieve the process of­ten starts with small steps of for­give­ness, start­ing within a fam­ily or a cir­cle of friends and co­work­ers. This can seem unim­por­tant com­pared to the big prob­lems the world faces, the wars, the fights politi­cians carry on, etc. But it ac­tu­ally starts right here, with us. It starts with our per­sonal lives and the choices we make each day.

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