“Forgiveness has Power…”

I want to share with you a story that I recently read that made me emotional and touched my heart. With all of the anger that seems to be in the world I often wonder why so many are willing to let their hate escalate instead of searching for peace. I feel like even those with “a worthy cause” sometimes get wrapped up in becoming what they don’t like about the “other side”. I often love looking for quotes of peace from Gandhi, he really seemed to know his stuff. Anyhow, this story made me think about all the good that is still out there. It made me think, too, that maybe forgiveness might be the thing that is missing.

This is a true story out of New York. I found it in the middle of a talk given during an LDS general conference several years ago. This is just an excerpt that tells the story (I will place a link to the full content and site I got it from at the bottom of this post.)

“A time back, I clipped a column from the Deseret Morning News, written by Jay Evensen. With his permission, I quote from a part of it. Wrote he:

“How would you feel toward a teenager who decided to toss a 20-pound frozen turkey from a speeding car headlong into the windshield of the car you were driving? How would you feel after enduring six hours of surgery using metal plates and other hardware to piece your face together, and after learning you still face years of therapy before returning to normal—and that you ought to feel lucky you didn’t die or suffer permanent brain damage?

“And how would you feel after learning that your assailant and his buddies had the turkey in the first place because they had stolen a credit card and gone on a senseless shopping spree, just for kicks? …

“This is the kind of hideous crime that propels politicians to office on promises of getting tough on crime. It’s the kind of thing that prompts legislators to climb all over each other in a struggle to be the first to introduce a bill that would add enhanced penalties for the use of frozen fowl in the commission of a crime.

“The New York Times quoted the district attorney as saying this is the sort of crime for which victims feel no punishment is harsh enough. ‘Death doesn’t even satisfy them,’ he said.

“Which is what makes what really happened so unusual. The victim, Victoria Ruvolo, a 44-year-old former manager of a collections agency, was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant, Ryan Cushing, than in exacting any sort of revenge. She pestered prosecutors for information about him, his life, how he was raised, etc. Then she insisted on offering him a plea deal. Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for 5 years if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

“Had he been convicted of first-degree assault—the charge most fitting for the crime—he could have served 25 years in prison, finally thrown back into society as a middle-aged man with no skills or prospects.”

“But this is only half the story. The rest of it, what happened the day this all played out in court, is the truly remarkable part.

“According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing carefully and tentatively made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’

“Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses, including a Times reporter, heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’ According to accounts, hardened prosecutors, and even reporters, were choking back tears” (“Forgiveness Has Power to Change Future,” Deseret Morning News, Aug. 21, 2005, p. AA3)

Here is a link to the rest of the talk if you would like to read it. Forgiveness

What do you think of that story? Amazing right? And I am glad that even with negative things in the world, there are stories like this all around proving that there is good in the world. What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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