There is a lot of good and evil in the world today. Too often, the media focuses on the negative. Today, we will take a look at some inspiring acts of forgiveness that make the world a better place.
10. Town Forgives the Man Who Bombed It
Nobuo Fujita was a Japanese fighter pilot with the distinction of being the only pilot to have flown an enemy aircraft that bombed the mainland of the United States. In 1942, during World War II, it bombed the west cost of the United States over Oregon. This bombing caused collateral damage when it sparked fires in Oregon’s dense and vast forests. One town that was greatly affected by Fujita’s raids was that of Brookings, Oregon. In 1962, Fujita returned to the United States for the first time since his raids and visited the town of Brookings. He brought with him a 400-year-old Samurai sword as a final symbol of his surrender and good will, which the town accepted. The town displays this symbol to this day as a sign of the friendship between the town and the man who tried to destroy it.
9. Son Forgives Woman Who Let His Father Die
In 2003, Chante Mallard was sentenced by a Texas court to 50 years in prison for the murder of Gregory Biggs. She also got an additional 10 years for tampering with evidence related to the case. Biggs was a homeless man struck by Mallard. He crashed through her windshield and remained stuck as Mallard continued to drive. Although Mallard claimed that she was in an altered state due to the drugs and alcohol she consumed the evening of the murder, her crime is still unimaginable. The most poignant aspect of the crime is not that Mallard hit and killed Biggs, it’s that he didn’t have to die. Testimony revealed that Biggs could have survived if he had received medical attention. However, Mallard drove home, parked in her garage, and left Biggs there to die. At the conclusion of the trial, Biggs’ only son, Brandon, stated to Mallard and to the court that he forgave her for letting his father die. Mallard responded with tears and silence.
8. Man Forgives and Befriends his Brother’s Murderer
Back in June of 1992, a drug raid went down in the East River Projects of Manhattan in New York City. Police were looking for 17 year old Wilfredo Colon, a crack dealer known to be aggressive and abrasive. Among his enemies was Michael Rowe, a teenager himself, at 15 years old. Police did not find Colon because he had been murdered. He was shot no less than 13 times by three men, including Michael Rowe. Rowe was captured, convicted, and sentenced to over 20 years in prison for the murder and other offenses. Meanwhile, Wilfredo’s younger brother, Anthony, was left feeling abandoned and angry. This anger festered for years until Anthony found religion. The surviving Colon met with Rowe in 2006 and expressed his forgiveness. The two men became friends, but sadly, Rowe was killed just two days after being released from prison.
7. The Pope Forgives His Would-Be Assassin
On May 13, 1981, the unthinkable happened in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square. Pope John Paul II, one of the most beloved figures of the time, as well as one of the all-time most popular Pope’s in the history of the church, was shot. Four shots were fired, two wounding the Pope and two more wounding people in the crowd. The Pope was seriously wounded. It took five hours of surgery to bring him back to stable condition. The would-be assassin was a 23-year-old young man from Turkey who had joined a radical terrorist group with a penchant for the assassination of leaders. The young man’s personal motivations have never truly been made clear. The Pope wasted no time in putting words into practice. On the way to the hospital, the Pope decided that he would forgive the young man. The Pope publicly forgave the man on May 17, 1981 and visited him in prison during his sentence.
6. Woman Forgives the Man Who Planned Attack that Killed Her Family
Kim Phuc had every reason to hate. On June 8, 1972 she was photographed by photographer Nick Ut, creating an image of pain and suffering familiar to many. Phuc was one of the children seen running down a street in Vietnam after being bombed with Napalm by the United States. The US claimed that they thought the people traveling down the road were Viet Cong, not children. The Napalm attacks killed many children and wounded many more. The psychological scars of these attacks will haunt the victims for decades, but not Phuc. Phuc has forgiven the man who planned the attack that killed many of her friends and family. She has even founded the KIM Foundation International, an organization devoted to “Healing the Children of War”.
5. Community Forgives and Offers Money after 5 Girls Are Murdered
The Amish are known for their peaceful and secluded lifestyle far from the hectic and violent reaches of the modern world. However, one terrible day in September of 2007, their peaceful world was shattered by an unimaginable tragedy. On that day, a man named Charles Roberts, a milk truck driver who delivered to the Amish, entered a school house and opened fire. Five girls were killed as a result. It is believed that Roberts was acting out of anger against God for the death of his own daughter nine months before the shooting. In his twisted mind, the shooting made sense. The Amish immediately began proclaiming forgiveness. Parents of the victims publicly announced their intent to forgive Roberts for the deaths of their daughters.
4. Daughter Forgives Mother for Abuse
Pascale Kavanagh is a survivor. From the time she was very small, Kavanagh and her younger brother had been brutally abused by her biological mother. The abuse was both physical and emotional. Her father tried to intervene, but the mother, who was continuing the cycle of abuse that she herself had endured a child, was abusing him too. As soon as she was of age and had graduated from high school, Pascale moved across the country to escape her family and build a life of her own. She married and birthed a daughter of her own. Pascale’s mother was no kinder to her granddaughter than she was to her children, so Pascale again broke ties. That was until 2010 when, at 73, Pascale’s mother suffered a major stroke that left her brain damaged. Pascale went to the hospital, forgave her mother and cared for her in a way that she had never been cared for. Today, Kavanagh tells her story of survival and forgiveness in the hopes that it will help others to live better lives.
3. Victim’s King Forgives Infamous Serial Killer
The Green River Serial Killer is one of the most infamous cases in history. During the 1980s, a rash of serial killings of young girls plagued the west coast. Gary Ridgway was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced for his crimes. Robert and Linda Rule’s daughter, Linda Jane Rule, became victims of the killer at age 16. She had been on the streets for a couple of years because of a bad relationship with her boyfriend. The Rule’s had every reason to be upset with the world and especially with Gary Ridgway for the terrible tragedy that was their daughter’s life. At sentencing, the family of each victim was allotted time to speak in court. Most were very angry, but not the Rules. When it came to be their turn, Robert Rule said, “Mr. Ridgway, there are people here that hate you. I am not one of them. I forgive you for what you have done. You are forgiven, sir.”
2. Cop Forgives Teen Who Tried to Kill Him
Forgiveness is never easy, but it may be easier to forgive someone for what he has done to a loved one than for what he has done to you. Not so in the case of Steven McDonald. In the 1980s, McDonald was serving as a New York City police officer. He was on patrol in Central Park when he came upon a group of teens who were suspected of armed robbery. A chase ensued, but McDonald caught up to the trio. As he was patting down one of the suspects, another shot him three times. The shooting left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe without the aid of a respirator. However, McDonald is a devout Christian, and so he turned to the pillars of his faith in his time of need. He was angry, but he was also alive. Nine months after the incident, McDonald announced in a news conference that he had forgiven the young man who altered his fate.
1. Forgiving the Holocaust
If there were one crime in the history of the world that most everyone can agree cannot be forgiven, it would have to be the Holocaust. Corrie Ten Boom thought otherwise. Living in Holland, Corrie was just a girl when World War II broke out across Europe. Her family were devout Christians who had made their home a refuge for those in need since before the war. When war came, the family made their home a safe place for those who were wanted by the Nazis. Eventually, the Nazis were alerted to what was going on in the Boom house and came calling. The entire family of ten, including Corrie were arrested. Four of the Booms died in the Nazi camps, but Corrie survived. She went on to minister forgiveness in the public arena, even praying for the forgiveness of those who had committed the atrocities of the Holocaust against millions and her own family. She died, peacefully, at 91 years old.