Forgiveness in the face of fear:
Could you imagine trying to forgive someone who holds you captive and physically abuses you? That seems like it would be nearly impossible. That is the choice that a young New Hampshire girl is facing as her captor pleads guilty to to seven charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault, witness tampering, second-degree assault and criminal threatening.
The young girl went missing in October 2013 and was missing for nine months. During that time the missing girl made national news as search crews searched frantically to find her.
During the time that the young girl from New Hampshire was missing she underwent severe abuse which left her with wounds around her neck and other parts of the body. Reports also claims that she was also threatened with a gun and that her family would soon become a target.
This level of trauma could cause anybody to break, leaving them mentally, emotionally and physically scared. These scars could create a bitter heart than would not heal without effect to the victim.
This young girl showed great strength after she was freed from her captor and the guilty party was facing charges. After being freed the courageous girl went to authorities and revealed enough detail to prove the crimes and point all of the evidence to the guilty.
"The level of details this victim could remember while she was enduring just unspeakable acts was simply amazing." Prosector Jane Young commented after hearing the young girl's story.
With all that, that is not the most courageous thing that this girl from New Hampshire has done: she openly forgave the man who kidnapped her, held her captive for months, and sexually assaulted her.
She publicly said to him, "Some people might call you a monster, but I've always looked at you as human."
That statement alone is extremely powerful! The whole world would see the captor as a soulless person with a bloodlust, but she was able to keep a compassionate side that saw her predator as a person who is hurting and in need of help.
This element of human decency separates her from so many people, which shows the true strength that she has and the strength that she chose to show to the world.
She continues by saying, "And I want you to know that even though life became a lot harder after that, but I still forgive you."
Even in midst of the most difficult time in her life, the young girl was able to set her pain and anguish aside and extend a heartfelt sign of love. By forgiving her abuser, she shows that love is truly more powerful than revenge or vengeance that stems from bitterness.
I applaud the strength and courage of this young lady who expressed compassion to a man that may have physically and mentally damaged her. I truly believe by showing this level of compassion she is healing from the trauma that she faced. When we showed compassion to her abuser she opened up a door of opportunities to him. He could begin to see his true value through her actions, causing him to change his ways.
The truth is we don't know the end of this story. We may never know the heart of stone that broke in the abuser's chest as forgiveness was granted to him. We may never know that enteral battle that he fights in his mind as he spends his time in incarceration. We may never know the moment he asks God for forgiveness, giving him a new life in Christ.
Forgiveness is a powerful tool for healing. It begins to mend the heart as we deal with the difficult times in our lives. The same forgiveness that heals us inside and out, also heals those that hurt us. When we express forgiveness to our offenders, we are showing them that they are valuable and worthy of love and compassion. Our display of forgiveness can compel the broken-hearted to see their true value, which in time can compel them to be free from their harmful past and can give them the opportunity to choose a different path.
With this we must ask: Who do you need to forgive? How are you going to show them that they have been forgiven for what they've done to you?
What do you do when you are face-to-face with disaster? What about a disaster that literally holds your life in its hands and dangles it over eternity?
In day-to-day lives it is common to face difficulties and fears. It is in those moments that we are shaped into better people. It is also in those moments that we show what we are truly made of.
Too many times we are bombarded with disaster stories throughout the world. Often the news pieces are centered on the victims and the struggles that they face. Often there is rarely a spot light shown on the lives of the individuals who run into the disaster hoping to provide any help that they can.
Whether it be gently talking down a dangerous situation or running toward the effects of a natural disaster to find and provide for the surviving victims: the unsung heroes.
I recently read an article on CNN.COM that gave brief summaries of natural disasters throughout the world as well as some of the survivors. My thoughts were soon filled with prayerful thoughts for those who found themselves caught in these life-changing scenarios. I was thankful that the individuals survived!
At the same time, as I began to realize that not all of the events listed were not exactly current, I began to fill very thankful for the individuals who do not find themselves in disastrous situations, not as victims but as heroes.
These men and women urge to help the world to be a better person. These selfless good Samaritans look their ear to the ground and they know that the world is a fallen place that needs hope. They offer hope to the hopeless!
Why do they offer this hope? Where does their passion and compassion come from?
There could numerous reasons, but I truly believe that each of these hope-filled heroes know that there is a true hope in this world that we live in and I believe that want to do their part to ensure that the rest of the world experiences this hope that guides their life.
As I read through this article, I was also exposed to a variety of pictures that shows the life of a dirt-covered survivor. Along with the survivor, I also saw those involved with the rescue. Many times both parties have an ear-to-ear smile and glimmer of hope in their eyes. Both parties have experienced something that is too often foreign to many of us.
I am writing this to give a spot light to these amazing people. To the police officers who work in the most dangerous areas and continue to work hard to serve and protect the people in their communities, regardless of the danger that you potentially face. Thank you! To the fire fighters, who run to the site of a burning building and freeing people from the grips of the flames, without a single thought of their own safety. Thank you. To the counselors, who guide the troubled through their struggles and stand at their side and help them become victorious over their personal demons. Thank you. To the Pastor, who uses the Word of God and prayer to empower those who are weak in spirit. Thank you. The missionary, who travels around the world to share the hope of Jesus Christ to broken and imperfect people, even though the world, has a view you as being you as a fanatic and crazy.
On behalf of the average bystander, I want to thank you. You are truly amazing. You are willing to go to the most areas of the world, where danger reigns supreme and you smile at the strangers that need you. You make a conscience choice to be a role model that we should strive to be more like.
I am thankful for your determination to the human being that you have never met; the human beings that you fight to protect, the people that you strive to help, the people that you love without expecting anything in return.
Pictures Courtesy of Google.com
Cnn.com (Disaster survivors rescued from rubble -- in Kenya and beyond)
Anthony K. Giesick
Actions are taken everyday that help make this world better and I just want to share them with you.