Stacy Rector: The Miracle of Forgiveness

Rev. Stacy Rector, the Executive Director of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, talks about the miracle that happens when people who have been scarred by pain choose the path of forgiveness.


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Corrie ten Boom on Forgiveness

The following reflection is based on the Encounter titled "Stacy Rector: The Miracle of Forgiveness". Use this for a group discussion or individual reflection.


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Corrie ten Boom was a watchmaker and a Christian living in the Netherlands during WWII. She and her family hid many Jews in their home during the Holocaust. In February of 1944, they were reported to the Nazis, arrested, and were sent to concentration camps. Corrie lost many loved ones throughout the war, but due to a clerical error, she was released in December of 1944. After her release, she set up a rehabilitation center for former prisoners and began preaching all over the world and writing about her experiences and faith journey.

Following one preaching event, she was faced with a former Nazi guard that she recognized asking her for forgiveness. Check out this article from Guideposts Classic where Corrie ten Boom speaks about this trying experience and the incredible lesson of God's love that came from it.

 

Reflection Questions:

  • Throughout the piece, Corrie ten Boom acknowledges the presence of emotions, thought, and will in the act of forgiveness. Do you tend toward or away from one of these components in your own perspective of forgiveness? What has your experience been like?
     

  • Recall what you were taught about forgiveness growing up. Are there any insights there that ring true to this day that you wish to keep? Any teachings that don’t sit well with you anymore? Why?
     

  • In what moment of your life was it most difficult to forgive?
     

  • When in your life have you felt the most deeply forgiven?
     
  • In her video, Rev. Stacy Rector talks about how, for some people, part of forgiveness means “letting go of the need to strike back, whether that be physically or metaphorically, and handing those feelings over to God”. Does this resonate with you? What does it mean to you to fully forgive another person?
 

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Take Action


Suggesstions for Making Peace with Your Past

The following Action is an excerpt from The Upper Room book, Forgiveness: Perspectives on Making Peace with Your Past.


Suggestions for Making Peace with Your Past:
 

  1. Forgive yourself. Sometimes we're harder on ourselves than we are on other people. Take a few minutes at the end of each week to let go of words or deeds you wish you had handled differently.
     
  2. Write that letter to someone you've been meaning to forgive. Even if you don't mail it, chances are you'll feel better after putting your thoughts on paper.
     
  3. Allow your friends and family members to make mistakes. As painful as it is to be hurt by someone close to you, try to remember that nobody's perfect.
     
  4. Think about how you'd like to be forgiven yourself. Can you offer the same gesture to someone else?
     
  5. Remember that forgiving does not mean pretending that the offensive act never happened. However, letting go of the resentment will make it easier for you to forgive.
     
  6. Ask yourself if you need to seek forgiveness from anyone you've harmed. Make a plan for the best way to approach the person.
     
  7. For those moments you wish you could "do over," think about how you would handle similar situations in the future.
     
  8. Accept the fact that you can't control the outcome when you reach out to ask for forgiveness. All you can do is make the first move.
     
  9. Talk to a church official or professional counselor if you're burdened by an act so offensive you don't think you can ever forgive the perpetrator.
     
  10. Don't panic if forgiveness does not come easily to you. With enough practice, you'll become comfortable with letting go of past hurts.
     


    From p. 87-90 of ​FORGIVENESS: Perspectives on Making Peace with Your Past © 2008 by Fresh Air Books™. All rights reserved.

     

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