Reflection on Forgiveness Written by Katie Harper The Abraham Project corps member
When I was younger, I thought I understood forgiveness. I thought I was pretty good at it.
Then in college, this girl drunkenly slammed a car door, not realizing I had bent down and my head was in the way. The result was a concussion to my optic chiasm.
I had to drop all but two of my classes. I lost the opportunity to learn from a man whose thesis readers had been J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis; I had to drop my French minor; I lost the GPA and hours for Phi Beta Kappa; I couldn’t work for a semester; I gained twenty pounds; I couldn’t dance, I couldn’t play pick up basketball, I couldn’t sing in choir, I couldn’t even walk to class for a while.
She never apologized.
How do you forgive someone who isn’t sorry? I could forgive an apology – there would be a sense of righteous mercy. Even God asked us to repent of our sins. Be reconciled with God, says Paul. The merciful goodness of the Lord endures forever on those who fear Him, says the psalmist. Forgiveness, it seemed, had
Forgiveness and Predestination Written by Ed Watson Saint Hilda’s House corps member
I spend a lot of time thinking about how hard it can be to forgive. I spend less time, however, thinking about what precisely forgiveness is. I think it often entails mercy or working past feelings of anger, but I very rarely think about it much more than that. It strikes me that a reflection on this latter question might help me to navigate the difficulties of the former.
So, let’s look at the word itself: forgiveness. It’s a compound word of Germanic origin, comprised of the words ‘for’ and ‘give’. It is structurally similar to the words ‘forget’ and ‘forgo’, and this structure, I think, can give us a clue as to what the word ‘forgive’ itself suggests forgiveness is.
Let’s look at ‘forgo’, then: when we say that something is a ‘forgone conclusion’ what we’re suggesting is that what is going to happen might as well have already happened; that however much time might elapse between now and then, nothing that happens now can change what will happen then. When we say ‘forgone’ then, it means that, irrespective of anything else, we might as well have
Reflection on Forgiveness Written by Hannah Pinter Creation Care at Camp Mokule’ia corps member
Forgiveness – This year I’m working with the Creation Care at Camp Mokule’ia ESC program. We’re helping develop a farm and a garden at the camp, so part of our work involves planting seeds. Growing up, I was distanced from seeds, yet at the same time they were commonplace. I learned about them in grade-school and always knew that fruits and vegetables come from them. The idea was so familiar it seemed nothing to get excited about. However, this year has given me the chance to contemplate what’s really going on when we plant seeds, and I’ve found it to be a wisdom and wonder beyond our understanding. No more than a speck is pushed underneath soil. It’s tiny, fragile, and in a place of darkness. Somehow water and soil nutrients seep in; and then, amazingly, new life breaks through. From the small beginning of a seedling, entire trees, bushes, flowers, and fruit and vegetable plants or vines can develop. This is a work of God. We can put the seeds in good soil and ensure they receive sunlight and water, but God is the Creator
Episcopal Service Corps and the Art of Forgiveness Written by Natalie Vanatta Life Together alum and ESC national board member
I will be completely honest with you, growing up I was a bit of a grudge holder. Any feelings of injustice I felt I had endured from my sister or parents would be stored away only to resurface in future arguments as proof that I had been the victim all along. In fact, often this grudge holding or lack of forgiveness was in a direct effort to get more sympathy and attention as a child. I would like to report that as I grew older this trait dissipated and I became someone who was quick to forgive. However, forgiveness, like prayer, should be a daily practice and to this day I am still working on both.
Despite this, the beautiful thing about getting older is that you begin to experience life and relationships that help you shape and change for the better. Thankfully, I have been incredibly lucky to have had amazing opportunities for growth and even more amazing people to help show me real life examples of how to be a better person. Not the least of both of