Renee Napier, Phillip And Mary Dickson
Taken from LISTVERSE
Renee Napier and Phillip and Mary Dickson have lived through a parent’s worst nightmare. On May 11, 2002, Napier’s daughter, Meagan Napier, and the Dicksons’ daughter, Lisa Jo Dickson, were struck and killed instantly by a drunk driver. They were both only 20 years old. The grief was unbearable but Napier and the Dicksons were determined to help others avoid the grief that they were experiencing.
The Dicksons worked through their local Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization, and Napier founded The Meagan Napier Foundation with the purpose of promoting safe driving. Napier works to spread her message to as many people as she can in the hopes of saving lives.
The drunk driver, Eric Smallridge, has accompanied Napier to some of her speaking engagements. While still serving his sentence, Smallridge was given permission to travel with Napier to speak and tell his story. He would encourage those in the audience to avoid ending up in his situation. After the presentation, the audience would be given the opportunity to view the mangled car.
Napier really wanted her message of forgiveness to get across. Napier and the Dicksons all lobbied for (and won) Smallridge’s early release, and if that’s not a hallmark of incredible forgiveness, we don’t know what is.
Taken from LISTVERSE
Immaculee Ilibagiza is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide that took place in the mid-nineties. Political tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes resulted in the massacre of hundreds of thousands of members of the Tutsi tribe and of members of the Hutu tribe who opposed the genocide. On Easter Sunday 1994, when Ilibagiza and her family were gathered together, Ilibagiza’s older brother, Damascene, begged their father to take the family and flee to safety. They made the fateful decision to stay.
On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying the Rwandan president, a Hutu, was shot down, and everyone on board was killed. Soon after, a killing spree began that targeted the Tutsi people. Ilibagiza and her younger brother, Vianney, managed to make their way to a local Hutu pastor’s home, who provided protection from the chaos that was surrounding them. When they arrived, they learned the heartbreaking news that Vianney could not stay. Ilibagiza and seven other women hid in a small (1 square meter) bathroom for three months. When Ilibagiza and the seven other women were finally able to leave their hiding place, Ilibagiza learned that her family had been murdered. Ilibagiza herself lost 22 kilograms (50 lbs) during her ordeal.
While our human nature desires revenge, Ilibagiza chose to forgive the people who killed her family as she felt the bitter feelings of rage destroying her. Though not easy, she was determined to let forgiveness, rather than hate, rule her life. Eventually, she met one of the murderers face-to-face and told him directly that she forgave him.
Ilibagiza is now living in the US with her children, some of whom are adopted from Rwanda. She has written a best-selling book about her experience, Left to Tell, and has made several television appearances. She has spoken at several conferences and founded the Left to Tell Charitable Fund to help children who have been orphaned through genocide. From the unimaginable pain she had endured, Ilibagiza has managed to do a great amount of good and make the world a little bit of a better place.
WOW! Amazing stories of genuine love and forgiveness! In a world that is filled with pain and suffering, much of it merely due to circumstances beyond our control, but much of it certainly perpetrated with intent. Of course, every man will be held accountable for our own choices and actions, whether we wronged someone, intentionally or unintentionally, as well as how we responded when we were wronged. We have all recited the Lord’s Prayer in which we ask our Heavenly Father to forgive us our debts (sins/trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those who have sinned/trespassed) against us. It is so much easier to vocalize the words of this profound prayer than to actually find the grace to forgive a wrong, much less genuinely and sincerely love our “enemy”.
We earnestly and fervently pray that God will not hold our sins against us, or that He will be merciful to us protecting us and keeping our loved ones safe from harm, to prosper our way, even heal our illnesses, diseases and infirmities. However, sometimes our prayers are hindered by a shear lack of obedience on our part of His simple commandments such as love your neighbor as yourself, or do to other as you would have them do unto you.
We want all the blessings of heaven and earth, but don’t realize that in the same way that God has established immutable laws in the natural realm, such as gravity, the seasons and seed-time and harvest, there are also immutable laws in the spiritual realm such as sowing and reaping. When we intentionally wrong someone, and might think we have gotten away with it, we can rest assured that what we sow we shall also reap. And, when we fail to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter how significant or insignificant the deed done to us seemed to be, we reap the consequences of that bitterness and unforgiveness in our own souls, and even in our body. We wonder why we are not getting any better after being sick. Yet, we are hiding unconfessed wrongs in our own lives, or are harboring bitterness against others who have wronged us. We must understand that the heavens become brass and our prayers only rise up so far before falling back down to our miserable hardened heart. However, that can all change and there can be restoration and healing at ALL levels!
As you read this I am sure you are thinking of many times in your own life and experience where someone did something to you that caused you material loss, physical harm or mental anguish. You look back on it and wonder how they could have done such a thing, particularly when it seemed entirely preventable, or seemed that it was even intentional on their part. Have you forgiven and forgotten? Are they free? Or YOU free? Did you seek revenge, trying to find a way to pay them back? Or did you go to them and let them know that you hold nothing against them, are praying for them and would bless them if they would receive it. There are many who call themselves “Christians”, but to forgive IS what it means to BE “Christ” …to others.
This simple act of love and humility… to forgive… has such a profound impact on both the one who did the wrong, as well as the one who is offering forgiveness. Swallowing our pride, getting over ourSELVES, and doing as Jesus taught would certainly go a long way to make this world, we (all) live in, a much better place. It is actually bringing heaven to earth… the first part of the Lord’s Prayer.
I was so moved by this video and it drives home the truth that to “love those who love us in return” is only human, but to “love and forgive our enemy” is truly divine….