I was in Qatar at a school conference telling my story and outlining the trauma elements to the students. After one of my classes I had a student come up to me with his three buddies behind him, and ask me the big question, "Do you need a faith to forgive?"
It was a simple question. I could’ve answered, "yes" because I personally require a faith to forgive, but as I looked at them I realized the cultural, religious barriers. During my class, they had been accepting of my trauma stories - I had watched them - I didn't want to burn bridges.
So, I told him that one didn't need a special faith to forgive, anybody could forgive. Research shows that even chimpanzees forgive. We giggled together at the thought of that.... "Sometimes we might need a faith...." I added...and they nodded.
To forgive always takes that second thought and effort, but because we are social beings who value relationship - forgiveness just makes common sense. We make the effort. "Don't sweat the small stuff," we say with a shrug of the shoulders.
But what if it is big - like forgiving the theft of a million dollars? Or like in our case - the murder of our thirteen-year-old daughter? When things are too big for us - we need help.
The 12-Step Program created by Alcoholics Anonymous is a widely used treatment tool to help people deal with their addictions by putting their faith in the Higher Power. In the same way when we are over our heads, consumed with anger, we need a Higher Power
Cliff and I often talked about the peculiar power we experienced when we had come to our wits end and were on our knees begging for help. Our God would help.
God might not answer our prayers for a million dollars, for a stress-free life, for that perfect mate, of for that secret dream wish - however he does help us forgive. It isn’t a quick fix and there’s no prevention that we know - but there is help if we ask. Especially if we ask him to create miracles - and turn something unforgivable into something good.
God cannot resist the pleas of a desperate soul.
But we need to remember forgiveness isn't a right -- it is always a gift exchanged in love.
No one has proof that I know of, that a higher power exists, yet a major portion of the world believes in it and relies on it in faith in trust, in what that is. Where is the science in that? And yet you have incredible belief in that. - Sandra Bullock