Forgiveness has been a very difficult thing for me recently. Actually, at times it has seemed nearly impossible. How do you forgive someone who has hurt you so badly when you would never do the same thing to them?
While in Uganda, I was blown away by the people’s ability to forgive. Parent’s whose children were taken away from them by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) choose to forgive Joseph Kony (the rebel leader) because they believed that was the only they would ever find peace.
I’m pretty sure I talked about Mama Angelina in one of my previous blogs but her story is a prime example of this kind of forgiveness. Her daughter was one of 149 girls taken from Saint Mary’s Boarding School by the LRA many years ago. 119 of the girls were returned in just a few days but Mama Angelina’s daughter, Charolotte, was not one of them. Mama Angelina spoke out against the rebels for a long while until they finally tried to make a deal with her: they would give her Charolotte back if she kept her mouth shut. Knowing that this problem was so much bigger than just her and her daughter and not wanting to betray other parents, she declined the offer and kept speaking out. Mama Angelina didn’t see her daughter for seven years and seven months, but Charolotte along with 29 other girls were eventually returned.
While Mama Angelina could have forever hated the rebels, in her eyes that wouldn’t have solved anything. When we interviewed her she explained that without forgiveness there would never be peace and that without peace happiness is basically impossible.
I learned a lot from Mama Angelina and all of the Ugandans we spoke to. If they can forgive Kony and the rebels for all of the hurt caused to them, how can I not forgive for much smaller wrongs done towards me?