Recently in the United States five
school-aged girls were murdered in
their school in an Amish community
in Pennsylvania. When we hear of acts
of violence such as this we are shocked
and our hearts open to the families of
those directly affected while we easily
view the perpetrator of the violence
as evil. I mention this event because
of the lesson in forgiveness it
offers the world.
Less than 48 hours after the killings,
the grandfather of one of the slain Amish
girls was standing next to his 13-year-old
granddaughter's body, preparing her for
burial. He told a group of young boys: "We
must not think evil of this man." He went
on to urge them to forgive the killer, who
had taken his own life as well. His words
came naturally to him because they reflect
a lifetime commitment to forgiveness.
This grandfather's point of view has been
formed by non-violence, prayer and peaceful
resolution of differences with others. As
a result of the habits of a lifetime he
knows the corrosive effect of harboring
hatred and letting it define his life
and our world; he speaks and acts as a
peaceful man embodying the art of living
as a forgiven and forgiving person.
6 Practicing the lesson
On sheet of paper, make a list of all
the ways you've mistreated and abused
your body. For example: by wearing
shoes that are too tight, abusing alcohol,
not flossing your teeth, and not taking
the time for regular medical care.
When you've finished your list, forgive
yourself for each item.
Once forgiven, cross that item off the list.
Do this with each item.
When you do something in the present that
is abusive, forgive yourself in the moment
and make a new choice that nurtures your body.
I forgive myself for abusing my body in
my thoughts and actions. I commit to
easily nurturing and lovingly caring
for my body.