Today I gave following speech at Toastmasters International Speech Contest (Club level), I didn’t won but I felt very good after giving it.
On October 2, 2006 a terrible incidence of violence occurred in an Amish village in Pennsylvania. A young milk delivery truck driver entered an isolated one-room school carrying a loaded rifle. He ordered the teacher and the male pupils to leave.
Eleven young girls, the oldest 13, were lined up for killing. The oldest girl, in order to gain time for the others, asked to be shot first. She was shot and killed. Her 11 years old sister offered to be second. She too was shot. The gunman shot all of them killing five on the spot and injuring the rest. Then he shot and killed himself.
The girls’ families and the entire Amish community felt shocked and hurt.
But they responded in a most extraordinary manner. They reasoned: ‘all deaths are God’s will. So we grieve but gracefully accept His will. The killer too is dead. His family too, like us, grieves. All of us, therefore, are victims of violence.
So, few days after the tragedy, the whole Amish community went to the killer’s house to offer food and condolences to his grieving family.
The world was incredulous that such forgiveness could be offered so quickly for such a heinous crime.
If I ask you a question – What is one of the most difficult things to do for a normal human being? Some of us may say climbing Mount Everest or skydiving from 15000 feet or counting your hairs or licking your own elbow, I believe there is one thing which is more difficult than climbing Mount Everest or counting your hairs which is to forgive someone who has caused you deep pain and who has hurt you badly? If we try, we might one day climb Mount Everest but forgiving someone who has caused deep pain sometimes seems pretty impossible. We simply can’t forget, we simply cannot let it go. How can we let it go without returning same amount of suffering and pain that we have got?
Anger and Hatred Never go
We get hurt, our heart get filled with anger and hatred, resentment and bitterness and this feeling of anger and hatred never go away, pain becomes insurmountable, unforgettable, unforgivable. It carries away with us wherever we go. And day by day it keep increases and when we on keep holding our grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds we get more hurt with every passing day and sometimes just by thinking about that person or incident we feel extreme pain and hatred.
We carry our pain throughout our life but we fail to realize that our anger and hatred is not hurting the person who has caused it, our anger and hatred is not making the person realize how bad we are hurt but the only person is who is hurting with our pain and hatred is us, Anger and hatred is like slow poison which will kill you slowly from inside and it will never end if we do not get it out of our system.
Forgiveness Virtue of Braves
Many times we feel that if we forgive a person without making it even or forgive him without giving him same amount of pain that we are going through, then people will take us as week hearted, people may think that we are coward and afraid, but let me tell you, week people can never forgive; it takes considerable amount of courage to forgive someone who has given you pain, forgiveness is the virtue of strong hearted people.
If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being. Some recent studies show that people who are taught to forgive become “less angry, more hopeful, less depressed, less anxious and less stressed,” which leads to greater physical well-being. Another of these studies concludes “that forgiveness … is a liberating gift that people can give to themselves.”
It’s hard to forgive, but forgiveness is something you do for yourself. I agree that forgiving those who has hurt us is not easy, but it is much better alternative than choosing to live with the pain of bitterness and resentment, with the pain of anger and hatred. Forgiveness does more for you than anyone else because it liberates you from negativity and lets you move forward. Forgiving might not make anger totally dissolve but it will give you the freedom of knowing you are so much more.
Pure happiness is achieved when you forgive a person who has done you harm; you detoxify yourself of all negative energy, free your mind, and purify your soul and body.
Perhaps that’s why Martin Luther said: “Forgiveness is pure happiness.”