The month began with a startling story of forgiveness–a victim in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting announcing his forgiveness of alleged gunman James Holmes–and it might be tempting to end the month on an equally startling note.
(Like, for example, the story on a recent Glenn Beck radio broadcast of Chris Williams extending forgiveness to drunk driver Cameron White for killing his whole family.)
But my vote for forgiveness story of the month is for a tale far less startling. And I vote for it precisely for that reason: If all we highlight are the stories of jaw-dropping, mind-bending, logic-defying forgiveness, we reinforce the grievously mistaken notion that forgiveness is like a fine wine or a Christmas tree: a beautiful object for special events. When we tell stories only of extraordinary forgiveness, the response of our hearers all too often begins with, “I could never…”
That’s because, contrary to the view of forgiveness as an emotion (which it’s not) that bursts suddenly and spontaneously out of the gloom like a quasar, forgiveness is a daily practice commended to us in the Lord’s Prayer. We are to rise, brush our teeth, walk the dog, and forgive our enemies.
So take six minutes and thirty four seconds of your day to watch what in my view is the best forgiveness story of the month. Listen especially to Rachel’s message of forgiveness to her persecutor in the last half minute. She may not mention Jesus in the message, but her formulation of forgiveness (“treat him as I treated him”) sure does sound oddly reminiscent of him.