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The Freedom of Forgiveness

Several years ago I read a heart-wrenching and inspiring story about Kai, a five year old Boston girl. Kai had been paralyzed at age three when a stray bullet severed her spinal cord.

Sadly, stories about innocent bystanders getting caught in the midst of violent acts are not unique, but Kai and her family’s response to the accident caught the attention of the media. Their inspirational message of forgiveness has remained in my heart and mind for years.

In the courtroom faced with the man who fired the gun, Kai and her family told the judge that the accident had taught them the value of forgiveness. According to a Boston Globe reporter, the five year old tearfully said, “What you done to me was wrong.” Then she softly announced, “but I still forgive him.”

How amazing! I give Kai’s family a lot of credit for being able to forgive the man who injured their daughter. Most importantly, by teaching Kai the healing power of forgiveness, they have freed Kai from more suffering – suffering fostered by feelings of anger, resentment and hatred towards the man who fired the gun.

When we cannot or will not forgive, we create more suffering for ourselves. Forgiving someone who has wronged you is not the same as saying that what they did is okay. Forgiveness frees you from the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual hold that anger and hatred can have.

I can still see Kai’s sweet little face and the brightly colored elastic ties in her braids on the front page of the newspaper. Kai and her family embraced the healing power of forgiveness to move beyond the pain and suffering of the past towards a better future.

Source: ‘I still forgive him,’ The Boston Globe, April 14, 2006

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