Beautiful, Interesting and Ooo Shiny! Images From Various Places

Forgiveness in Colorado

Location: India
Camera info: Canon Rebel 350D • lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
ISO 800 • f 11.0 • 1/100 sec

 It’s not too often the Shine4Him Photo blog ventures into social commentary, but I think this week’s photo deserves it (phrases taken from Exodus 3:5 and Psalm 100:4, painted on a church wall in India). So does the recent happenings in Aurora, CO in the USA.

In the week following this tragedy, there have been many stories emerge of heroism, sacrifice, and love. Tragedies tend to bring out the deepest emotions and people’s true selves. Anyone can claim what they think they would do in a situation, but we never know for sure until something forces us to act without thinking. That’s what the men who died saving their girlfriends were doing. Somewhere, they learned that was the noble thing to do, and when the moment came, they acted. Now the world is grateful, even through many tears.

Then there is Pierce O’Farrill, one of the other victims of the shooting. Despite having been shot three times, the moment he was released from the hospital, he told the press that he had forgiven the shooter. Again, this goes against the grain of what seems normal. No one blames the families who are angry at Holmes. I doubt few would be upset when justice is served. But what about this guy?

Forgiveness, in itself, is very freeing. For years, research has proven that bitterness only tears apart the person who carries it, and forgiveness allows the person to give up the “victim” title and move on with their lives. Personally, I hope everyone involved can eventually come to that point, though it will likely take years. And please note that forgiveness is not exoneration. I’m sure even O’Farrill would agree that the courts need to do their job. But this immediate forgiveness, and even a willingness to talk to and pray for the shooter? Now that’s something different.

O’Farrill links his actions to his faith in Jesus Christ. It takes more than just being a good person to forgive like that, I’ve found. It takes power beyond ourselves. But through the years, many have discovered the power that Jesus provides to forgive those who hurt them. Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom also had to lean on her faith to forgive the man who tortured her and her sister. But both of these people have made the same amazing discovery – that forgiveness gives us a glimpse of the true nature of God, and in that, we can be thankful.

Have you ever struggled to forgive someone who hurt you? Where do you find the strength to move on?

16 responses

  1. V.E.G.

    There is a hero (possibly) like Pierce O’Farrill: Jan Demczur. He used a squeegee and saving lives.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:13 pm

  2. V.E.G.

    By the way, there is a worse case than the Batman killer: David Augustus Burke. English-born Jamaican Burke killed 43 people including himself and he committed the worst mass murder by an African-American in the history of the United States. It was over the theft of $69 and he took revenge by crashing the plane in California. There is another Texas Gentleman like Gordon Cowden: Ray Frank Thomson. Ray (never “Raymond”) was born in Texas and he was married twice with no children. Thomson has an older brother, William “Presley” Thomson. It is possible that Presley would have said, “I forgive you, Mr. Burke.” Four months after the incident occurred, Pacific Southwest Airlines ceased to exist.

    August 1, 2012 at 5:26 pm

  3. Andy

    I made a comment on a newsfeed that I think was important to note: I don’t forgive because someone wronged me and they NEED me to do it. I forgive because I hurt and I have pain and I don’t want that pain to fester into anger. It had nothing to do with the shooter actually, he doesn’t even know he needs to be forgiven. One of the guys who forgave, was shot three times. Those who’ve had relatives who’ve recovered from cancer or gunshot wounds can attest to the fact that forgiveness is actually part of the physical healing process.

    August 2, 2012 at 10:17 am

    • Exactly! Thanks for commenting!

      August 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm

  4. Anonymous

    By the way, there is a worse case than the Batman killer: Gameel Hamed Al-Batouti. Egyptian National Al-Batouti killed 217 people including himself and he committed the worst mass murder by a single man in the peacetime history of the world. It was over the sexual misconduct and he took revenge by crashing the plane to the Atlantic Ocean. There is another Gentleman like Gordon Cowden: Richard Spohn Brokaw. Richard was born in New Jersey and he was married twice with four children, four stepchildren, three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren. Brokaw was an only child. It is possible that some of his children like James Albert “Jim” Brokaw II, would have said, “I forgive you, Mr. Al-Batouti.” After that, they have moved on with their lives. God bless.

    August 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm

  5. V.E.G.

    There is one man like Pierce O’Farrill who forgive: Fred H. Wilson. Fred (never “Frederick”) was born in Iowa and forgive the Omaha gunman for shooting at him. No record of him exists of marrying. There is the worst case than the Batman killer: Alexander Keith. Keith killed at least 81 people in Germany and then shot himself and died five days later. The mass rampage has been around for very, very, very long time.
    There is another man like Pierce O’Farrill who forgive: Donnie William Nichols. Donnie (never “Donald”) forgive the gunman and he is a deacon in the Church.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

  6. V.E.G.

    Amardeep Singh Kaleka, a son of a legend and a hero, Satwant Singh Kaleka, forgave the gunman and Amardeep won an Emmy.

    August 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm

  7. This Gospel approach to forgiveness balances with the psychological approach referred to as “forgiveness therapy”—a therapeutic mechanism for bringing about mental health.

    September 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm

  8. V.E.G.

    By the way, there is another shooting almost the same number of victims as James Holmes: A man from the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, killed 16 people and injured 60 others in the military camp in Vientaine in Asia on April 5, 1978.

    October 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm

  9. Pingback: 2012: The Greatest Hits « Pictures Around the World

  10. V.E.G.

    Now, Robbie Parker forgave the gunman that has the same last name as the singer and the real family name of the Woody Woodpecker guy.

    March 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

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