I watched a video of the powerful true story of Chris Williams, who forgave the young drunk driver that killed his wife and two of his children. Soon afterward, he decided he needed to forgive and let it go. Chris then visited the young man, still in prison, and talked with him and encouraged him to also let it go. It’s an amazing story of forgiveness. It shows how one’s life can be more free and unburdened by letting go of anger and disappointment. It shows how forgiving someone allows them to also move on with their life and forgive themselves.
What opened my eyes was how the forgiveness rippled through the friends and family on both sides of the equation. It helped them find peace as well. Neighbors. The parents of the young man. (see 05:30 in the video) The bishop (pastor) of the congregation. One also assumes Chris Williams’ children, and their future children. The future children of the young man. A single act of forgiveness can indeed heal a community.
It has been along time since I read through the Bible. I’m finding that I’ve forgotten many details of some of the stories. As I studied Genesis 32 and 33, I felt genuine suspense at Jacob’s return to Abraham’s land. I sensed the anxiousness of Jacob, who was committed to follow God’s command to return, but terrified that his brother would still seek to kill him and his family. I was impressed with his wisdom to divide up the family so that half could live should things get ugly. Also with his wisdom and humility to send flocks ahead of him as a gift, and have his servants state that Jacob would be the servant of Esau. What would happen? I ran out of time yesterday in my study. It was just like a cliff-hanger for me.
Today I was deeply touched by the continuation of the story. How touching kindness and love Esau showed to his brother to run and greet him. How gracious were the words of Jacob to his brother. Time heals many things. Efforts to be kind and humble, gifts of recognition, and words of healing make a big difference. It helps when both sides seek to repair the relationship.
The study lesson also pointed to a video about two real life brothers, who had a destructive relationship. I wept as I watched this video and saw how things changed. I learned that we don’t always know what is under the surface and why people are unkind. Sometimes it’s deeper. I learned that making and effort, even when a relationship is deeply damaged can sometimes make the difference. Applying the love of Christ to the relationship makes all the difference in the world.
My recommended inspiring video of the day: Two Brothers Apart (at LDS Youth; 6 minutes long)