You’ve most likely heard about the new movie, Unbroken, based on the true-life story of Louis Zamperini. What you may not know is that his story is not only one of survival, but of forgiveness.
Louis said that hatred does more damage to the one who hates than anyone else.
It is a disease that will destroy relationships.
Mr. Zamperini was ill-treated and brutally beaten for two long years. Yet, when he got home he realized that he needed to let go of the past in order to embrace the future. This “letting go” required him to travel back to Japan to tell his former captors that he had forgiven them for what they had done. His forgiveness wasn’t dependent on their apology. I don’t know if they ever admitted wrong to him, but he knew it was necessary for him to forgive.
I’ve heard it said that if we’ve been wrongly treated and the person hasn’t come to us to ask our forgiveness, our responsibility is to get to the place where if they did ask, we would be able to forgive them. We must posture our hearts to forgive, and in so doing it releases us from the damaging effects of harboring bitterness and hatred in our hearts.
I realize that during the Christmas season there are many families who deal with issues that are difficult to face. If there is unforgiveness it is nearly impossible to ignore. It screams in your mind of all the reasons you are justified in how you feel. But these thoughts hurt no one as much as they hurt you.
Hatred and bitterness paralyze, which in essence prevents you from moving on with your life.
Louis passed away this year at the age of 97. He believed God kept him alive so that he could see his story told by both author (Laura Hillenbrand) and director (Anglina Jolie). His life impacted theirs forever. And their lives impacted his. Forgiveness has a way of spreading healing to all who encounter it.
In 2015, let’s purpose to walk in forgiveness. It’s a choice, and if Louis Zamperini can forgive the horrific prison guards who so violated him, certainly there’s a place for forgiveness in our hearts towards those who have wronged us.
NOTE: If you are in a physically abusive relationship, we are in no way condoning an acceptance of this at all! We encourage you to seek refuge and help.
Finally, I invite you to take a few minutes and listen to this excellent interview where Mr. Zamperini tells his story. It’s heart-warming and inspiring. Great motivation for the start of this new year.