The Lost Art of Forgiving

by Helen

the lost art

The Lost Art of Forgiving is a collection of stories showing the healing power of forgiveness in the experiences of ordinary people scarred by crime, betrayal, abuse, bigotry and war. It lets the lives and voices of whose who have forgiven, and those who haven’t, speak for themselves. The girl pictured on the front cover contributes her story of how she forgave the humans that caused the horrific burns to her back during the Vietnam war that affected thousands of innocent civilians. Her name is Kim Phuc and she started a foundation to help children who have suffered and to promote forgiveness. Go to the Kim Phuc Foundation website here.

This book profoundly affected me on several levels. It was given to me by the loveliest would-be mother-in-law you could wish for (shame I didn’t want to marry her son, as lovely as he was) who understood and practiced the art of forgiving. This lovely lady, a devout Christian who emanated pure goodness recognised that I was heavily burdened and needed to forgive some people for the wounds they had caused me in order to set me free. When she handed me the book the picture on the cover instantly touched on and brought into consciousness a deep guilt that I had carried inside me since I was a little girl; for the atrocities and human suffering caused during the South Vietnam war. I vividly recalled seeing this same image on a TV documentary that my mother was watching. I was seven years old and horrified at the scenes of human suffering. I asked my mother why this had happened and who had caused these atrocities. Without thinking of the possible consequences of her answer, she replied, ‘We did, along with the Americans.’ I felt immediate shame, and a terrible fear that reprisal would follow. I’m not even sure if she was correct but this is how easy it is to instill fear and guilt into a child’s mind that remains deeply buried and will affect them for the rest of their lives unless they learn to let it go, with forgiveness.

I read the stories in this book in awe and admiration for the depth of some people’s compassion and capacity to love and forgive. Inspired, I started to work on letting go of old wounds and misconceptions and loving the people that caused them.

For more about forgiveness, go to the Planet of Forgiveness website, a foundation set up my dear friend, author and publisher, Anthony Grey.