October 11, 2018
Most people are shocked when heinous crimes occur towards innocent good people. Rarely, do we see those innocent victims and their families choose to forgive the attacker(s).
Forgiveness is hard, and often we don’t feel that the person(s) responsible for hurting others should be given any liberty at all. Have you ever wondered how and why someone would choose to forgive an assailant who caused unnecessary hurt and pain?
I heard two very powerful speakers last night at Zion Episcopal Church in Manchester, Vermont speak about forgiveness. The speakers were the Rev. Anthony Thomson and Ms. Polly Shepherd. They spoke about their experiences with forgiveness in the aftermath of the June 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church (Mother Emanuel) in Charleston, SC.
The Rev. Thompson’s newly-ordained wife, Myra, was leading Bible study when she and eight other congregants were struck and killed by the assassin’s bullets. Ms. Sheppard was one of only three survivors whose life was spared when the assailant ran out of ammunition. She ultimately had to watch her son and friends take their last breath.
This is an important message from people who lost loved ones and whose lives are forever changed because they chose forgiveness.