CNN, better known as Constantly Negative News, actually published an inspiring story on forgiveness in a most unlikely place. It is about Balal, an Iranian in his 20's, who is about to be executed. The story is told through the lens of photographer Arash Khamooshi. Maybe you saw it?
At the very last minute, with the rope around his neck, the mother of the man he murdered slaps Balal across the face. She forgives him for this horrendous act and then with the help of her husband they remove the noose from Balal's neck. He is free to go.
Apart from the strange proceedings allowing a convicted murderer to go free once forgiven the actual act of forgiveness is huge. This mother is not the first to forgive such a heinous act and she won't be the last but she reminds and inspires us to do the same.
Much closer to home is my friend, Ed, who has not seen his brother in 12 years. The relationship has been strained by distance, lack of understanding, and an unwillingness to shift one's perspective. Chatting with Ed one day he remarked that he had invited his brother to come for a visit but the brother said no. It wasn't a simple 'no' either. It was a 'no' filled with innuendos and accusations. And according to Ed, a whole lot of lies!
Infuriated he had written a response email. He asked me to read it before he sent it. Ed said that he had spent a lot of time on this email hoping to get his thoughts across to his brother. What I read were more accusations. "In my opinion," I told Ed, "this is just going to inflame the situation even further." I suggested that if he were really interested in seeing his brother his response should say exactly that. And only that. Ed ended up sending a simple email suggesting he visit instead. His brother responded almost immediately with possible dates.
"Always remember that your state of mind and the resulting goal you will achieve are in your own hands, because there are really only two things you can do – judge as an expression of fear, or forgive as an expression of love. One perception leads to the peace of God and the other perception leads to war." ~ Gary Renard, The Disappearance of the Universe.
Ed and the mother of the murdered boy chose to forgive. In doing so they bring about their own inner peace because forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person. Ed spent a week with his brother catching up and reconciling. They may not agree on everything but having spent some time together Ed has been able to shift his perspective. And he is no longer at war with his brother.
How much easier would it have been for that mother to give in to the anger she felt toward Balal? And that anger would have been justified and supported by the judicial system. Yet forgiveness can lead to unexpected, joyful and maybe even miraculous results.
Wouldn't you rather have miraculous in your life?