“As we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”
Nine simple words, yet possibly the most difficult ones to live up to. If you are a Christian you probably pray these powerful words at least once a week, maybe more. But how many of us are spiritually or mentally equipped to follow through, and forgive someone that has caused you great physical anguish or pain? The word “Forgiveness” seems to be the trending word today, according to numerous world-wide articles that have made the headlines this week. Lifehacker News tells us, “Why you should make forgiveness your friend,” The University Herald explains, “How punishment plays an important role in forgiveness,” and the news from the Vatican City has the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, asking for forgiveness for corrupt clergy.
These are all great stories, and each one gives us something to think about. But there is one story according to a Christianity Today news report on June 21, that has one widow backing up these powerful words of prayer. Her courtroom reaction shows the true meaning of the word forgiveness. Sandra Walker forgave and hugged, Tamara Matthews, the woman who had pled guilty for the tragic car accident that killed Sandra’s husband, and left her with a traumatic brain injury. During her court statement Walker had told Matthews that they had a lot more in common “than is showing on the surface,” and that it was obvious that they both suffered a great loss. Tamara’s 16-year-old son, Joshua, also died at the scene.
Both woman appeared on The View, Friday June 20, as Sandra Walker explained why she forgave Tamara Matthews. In a previous report Walker had told WSB-TV, “I know she is going through as much pain as I am feeling. I wanted her to know that I forgive her for what she did.”
Forgiving someone who has caused you great pain and heartache is never easy, but when you begin to understand that forgiveness is a gift that you first give to yourself, it helps in making the process a little less painful. Learning to forgive does not mean that you excuse what was done to you, but rather, it does help you to realize that when you forgive, you are giving yourself peace of mind, the ability to move forward, by releasing all the anger, frustration and hurt, and replacing them with the feelings of hope and happiness.
God bless both of these women for living the true meaning of forgiveness.