Forgiveness and Freedom

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”- Ghandi

If you have been following the Guyger trial out of Dallas,TX then it’s a good chance you have been rolling your eyes in frustration since the story broke. If you are not familiar with this trial, allow me to bring you up to speed. Dallas patrol officer Amber Guyger fatally wounded St. Lucia native, 26 year old Botham Jean in his own apartment as she was confused thinking Botham’s apartment was her own. Unlike most incidents where black and brown individuals have lost their lives at the hand of a police officer, Guyger has been held accountable. Terminated from the police force and as of now, being sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

Following this case from beginning to the present, this trial has left many with various emotions of anger, sadness, and heartbreak. It was on the day that Botham Jean’s brother, Brandt, took to the stand and left the room speechless. Brandt looked to Guyger and stated “If you are truly sorry, I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you. I know if you go to God and ask him, He will forgive you.” It was after this statement that Brandt directed a question to Judge Tammy Kemp that left the room in silence. Brandt asked the proceeding judge if he could hug Guyger. This act of strength and forgiveness has sparked questions across the nation. A few of which left many wondering “Do I have THAT kind of forgiveness?” “Is THAT kind of forgiveness really real?”

I have asked myself could I honestly sit in the courtroom across from any of my family members murderer and have the desire to forgive and even take it a step further, and love on them in my time of despair? A despair that was caused whether intentional or unintentional. I guess God isn’t through with me yet because my honest answer would be NO. I have spoken to several people providing their opinions on the subject and although it was the Guyger trial that caused such a conversation, it led me to realize, for many, forgiveness is not everyone’s first choice. Forgiveness tends to come after every other emotion one could feel, if it comes at all. One of my favorite quotes regarding forgiveness is “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you.”- Lewis B. Smedes.

This quote reminds me to always attempt to stay FREE. As much as we would like at times to see those who inflicted pain upon our hears or in our lives to suffer for the damage they have caused, it just doesn’t work like that for the most part. But, it is at that time the damaged becomes prisoner to the emotions of anger, bitterness, and resentment. Learning and allowing yourself to accept an apology you most likely will never get, is solely for the freedom of your own emotions, well being, and health. Forgiving sometimes is easier said than done but, here are a few ways to help in mastering the art of forgiveness and keeping your good vibes only aura going!

  • Follow A Role Model. Let’s be honest, sometimes we need someone else to show us just how to forgive. Seeing someone else practice forgiveness inspires compassion and humility.
  • Time. We all know the phrase “Time heals all wounds.” Allow yourself time to build the desire to forgive someone in your life that has wronged you. This is not an overnight process, allowing time to “build yourself up” to entertain forgiveness is totally acceptable!
  • Remind Yourself It’s Personal. Forgiving other people who have wronged you is not for them, it is for you. They may never deserve to be forgiven but it will give you peace of mind. Holding on to any negative emotions fuels power to the one who caused the damage. They have had enough power over you. Take it back.
  • Write a Letter. Express EXACTLY how you feel on paper. Do not hold anything back. This letter will not go to the one who caused you pain but it should be addressed to them. After writing down and expressing yourself, take the letter and burn it. This symbolizes that you have released the pain of old wounds. You are making room for more positive vibes in your life as you rid yourself of ill feelings.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you can not move forward.”

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