These 10 Extraordinary Acts of Forgiveness Will Open Your Mind and Heart

Written by on September 4, 2017 in Conscious Living, Inspirational with 1 Comment

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By Ana Garcia | Listverse

According to the old saying, when it comes to forgiveness, we should all forgive and forget. Many can attest to the fact that this is usually easier said than done. While smaller grievances may be easily forgiven, serious transgressions are another story entirely. Many people struggle to forgive a serious wrong done to them and many times feel that the perpetrator does not deserve forgiveness. Those are natural human emotions, but some people just don’t bother with them.

Related Article: How to Forgive: Here Are the 8 Sacred Stages of Forgiveness


10. Green River Killer

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Gary Leon Ridgway is better known as the infamous Green River Killer. In 2003, he confessed to the murders of 48 women. In 2011, Ridgway was convicted of the murder of Rebecca Marrero, bringing the victim count up to 49. By his own confession, he may have murdered as many as 60 women. Ridgway especially despised prostitutes and targeted them for his killings.

At Ridgway’s 2003 sentencing, the families of the victims had the opportunity to speak out and address Ridgway directly. Understandably, many were angry and lashed out at Ridgway for the unimaginable grief he had put them through. As Ridgway stonily listened to the family members express their grief and anger, one person came up and said somethingunexpected. When the time came for Robert Rule, the father of teenage victim Linda Jane Rule, to speak, Ridgway finally showed a glimpse of remorse.

Rule’s words to Ridgway were: “Mr. Ridgway . . . there are people here that hate you. I’m not one of them. You’ve made it difficult to live up to what I believe, and that is what God says to do, and that’s to forgive. You are forgiven, sir.” These words brought Ridgway to tears.

9. Patricia Machin

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In 2011, Patricia Machin lost her husband when he set out to buy the morning paper. Gerrard Machin was doing what he always did, but this time would not return home. Patricia sensed something was wrong and went to look for him. She was greeted by the sight of an ambulance and blood on the ground. Her husband had been struck down by a driver.

The driver, Brian Williamson, was extremely distressed over having hit Gerrard Machin. Patricia Machin, though, felt no anger toward the driver. She knew that the horrible accident had not been intentional, and she harbored no ill will toward Williamson. The sincerity of her forgiveness shone through in a letter she wrote to Williamson that was to be used in his defense. In that letter she wrote, “However bad it was for me, I realize it was 1,000 times worse for you.”

8. Charles C. Roberts

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On October 2, 2006, Charles C. Roberts walked into an Amish schoolhouse armed with three guns. There were 26 students in the schoolhouse. He allowed the 15 boys, a pregnant female student, and three other adult females with infant children to leave safely, but held the remaining 15 girls captive and tied their feet together.

His deranged rationale for his actions was that he wanted to exact revenge for something that had happened in his past. Notes that he left behind indicate anger toward himself and God for the death of his newborn daughter almost nine years earlier.


Authorities were alerted, and soon arrived on the scene. Not long after police arrived, Roberts started shooting, killing three children and himself. Two more children died later from their injuries.

In the face of such tragedy, one can only imagine the hurt and anger the loved ones of the victims might feel. In an extraordinary demonstration of forgiveness, members of the Amish community, including family members of the deceased victims, attended Robert’s funeral and comforted his widow. The Amish community did not stop there—they also offered financial support to Robert’s widow.

Related Article: Release Your Resistance Through the Power of Forgiveness

7. Rachelle Friedman Chapman

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Rachelle Friedman Chapman is a young woman who is filled with a zest for life, but she’s had her share of rough times. In 2010, a month before she was going to be married to her fiance, Chris Chapman, a freak accident left her paralyzed from the chest down. Friedman and some of her friends were attending Friedman’s bachlorette party. While hanging out by the pool, Friedman’s girlfriend playfully pushed her into the pool. Tragically, what was meant to be a harmless prank backfired. Friedman plunged headfirst into the shallow end of the pool, fracturing two of her vertebrae.

While Friedman could have sunk into despair and depression, she chose to remain positive. Her fiance stood by her, and they were married one year after the accident.

Did Friedman forgive the friend who pushed her into the pool? The answer is “No, she did not.” As Friedman herself explains, “I know this is hard to believe but I never had to forgive her because I never really blamed her. As I was lying on the side of the pool, I was worried about her.” That’s an amazing woman.

6. Steven McDonald

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In 1986, Steven McDonald was a young New York City police officer. While patrolling Central Park, he and his supervisor questioned three teenagers whom they suspected of stealing bicycles. One of the teenagers, 15-year-old Shavod Jones, pulled a gun on McDonald and shot him three times. Doctors were able to save his life, but the incident left him paralyzed and in need of a respirator to breathe. At the time of this heartbreaking event, McDonald and his wife, Patty, had not yet reached their one-year anniversary and were expecting a child.

It was suggested to Mrs. McDonald that she put her husband in a home, but the McDonalds stayed together through thick and thin. In spite of everything that had happened, Steven decided that revenge was not the answer. Rather than hold a grudge, he forgave the boy who shot him. McDonald’s forgiveness of Jones was so complete that he attempted to correspond with Jones while he was in jail serving his sentence. The two men wanted to work together to promote forgiveness and non-violence, but sadly, this was not to be. Only three days after Jones was released from prison, he was killed in a motorcycle accident.

McDonald did fulfill his own mission though, traveling to various speaking engagements to promote forgiveness, peace, and non-violence.

5. Marion Salmon Hedges

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Marion Salmon Hedges suffered a severe brain injury after two teenage boys dropped a shopping cart on her head from a fourth-story parking garage in a New York City mall.

In a New York City mall, two teenage boys decided to have a little fun, although their definition of “fun” was definitely not very nuanced. As they were hoisting a shopping cart on to the safety railing on the fourth floor of the parking garage, the cart became stuck. Being persistent, the boys did manage to send it over the edge and plunging down onto one Marion Hedges, who was standing below. The incident left Hedges in a coma and blind in her left eye.

Another boy had tried to stop the first two from carrying out their harmful stunt but was unable to do so. He went for help and cooperated with police in identifying the culprits. (The boy’s actions led to him being called a snitch, and his mother even received death threats, which forced them to relocate.)

In spite of Hedges’ severe injuries, she harbors no bad feelings toward the two boys whose malicious stunt changed her life. True to her charitable nature (Hedges was involved in charity work prior to the incident) she said, “I haven’t heard from them, but I wish them well. I do, because I feel very sorry for them.”

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