While preparing to teach The Law of Forgiveness in a small group study, a priest decided she should practice the forgiveness exercise. A day later, she received an out-of-the-blue phone call from someone she forgave even though she had not heard from this person in four years.
All of these stories get to the heart of forgiveness. Connie Domino's central argument is that you do not have to meet with the person you are forgiving. You don't have to begin to like them. Forgiveness doesn't mean you have to forget what they did to you. You don't even have to let down your boundaries protecting yourself from being hurt again by that person.
But something very deep within you changes. You will feel a removal of impediments that the state of unforgiveness builds up within you— "boulders" as it were within your personal flow of energy. Unforgiveness blocks your attempts to achieve your goals and dreams. However, once you forgive those who have hurt you in the past, you are freer to attain your life's goals and dreams.
One of the most dramatic examples in history is the role that forgiveness played in the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. President Mandela truly believes forgiveness is one of the most powerful instruments in the world. Immediately after winning the election in South Africa, he invited his former wardens from Robben Island where he was imprisoned for almost 28 years to be his honored guests at his inauguration. He believes that his forgiveness of his enemies helped his nation begin to recover from the bleak days of Apartheid.
Mandela appointed Archbishop Desmond Tutu to lead the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Archbishop Tutu wrote a groundbreaking book about his philosophy of forgiveness in which he argued that for everyone there is no future without forgiveness.
When you become a forgiver, you will feel and know a new degree of freedom, power and energy. You will know a new future. As Connie Domino says, "Join the forgiveness revolution!"
The Rev. Ed Bacon is a guest host for the Oprah's Soul Series radio show. He is also the rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California. If you are interested in taking the next step, you can download the text of his sermon from Christmas Eve.