Michael - Martinsburg, West Virginia
Entered on July 5, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: forgiveness
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe in forgiveness.

When I was in high school, I watched a Chinese soldier on a TV news report kill a young man by shooting him in the head at point blank range. I was horrified at the callousness and apathy of man to man. I felt angry, I felt ashamed, I felt the desire to revenge and make things “right.”

Tonight I watched the movie The Passion Of The Christ. And I started to feel the same thing. But, amazingly, after a while, the horror and sadness left me, and what I was left with was love.

I’d like to take the metaphysical out of the discussion. I want to take out all the debate and the religion and the miracles and the dogma and focus on the gist of the story. Here is a man, who taught peace, condemned to torture and death, not because of any crime, but because of the political powers straining to maintain the status quo.

Now, would that make me angry? You bet. Would that make me what to revenge? Yep. Would that make me condemn my condemners? Absolutely. That is justice.

But here is a guy who takes it all, the worse that humanity can throw at him, and what does he do? He forgives them. He prays for them. He thinks of others as part of himself. So simple a lesson, so simple a concept, yet almost impossible for me to understand.

I believe that the true miracle of Christ is the fact that he forgave. He did not revenge, he did not curse, he did not hate. He loved! Through all of that suffering, he loved. And through his example I see the possibility and promise for humanity to do the same. Was Jesus the Son of God? Of course, but aren’t we all? And do we not have the same capacity of choice to forgive each other that Jesus had? I believe we do.

A few years ago, I saw on the TV screen a car covered with dust from two collapsed towers and the word ‘revenge’ written in it. I believe that this world would be a different place if we had not sent bombs, but someone to say, “we forgive you.”