icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-email icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-print icon-rss icon-search icon-stumbleupon icon-twitter icon-arrow-right icon-user Skip to content

When someone is struggling to forgive, all of the wisdom and understanding in the world falls on deaf ears. In fact, some are so skeptical that it literally takes an act of divine intervention to open them up to the possibility.

You may remember the TV series “Touched by an Angel,” which featured episode after episode of people who were hurting because someone had wronged them and they were not able to let go of the experience even years after it had occurred. However, the three main stars, Roma Downey, Della Reese, and the late John Dye found a way to help people see things differently and move on in their lives.  
 
Waiting for an act of divine intervention can take a lifetime, and that is often the case with some people. They take their heartache to the grave, and the ones who wronged them are none the wiser — often not even aware they have caused such an injury.

On the other hand, there are those who intentionally harm others and live to gloat about it. What do you do with that? I'm not sure of the answer. I just know you stand a better chance at getting the last laugh when you let go and let God deal with them. It’s best to try to get them out of your head and open your heart so that you are not imprisoned by your own grief and agony. We can’t control other people, but we can control ourselves. We have choices.
 
One day while listening to a friend’s story about his bitter trials, a small voice inside me whispered, “He is not alone. There are angels surrounding him. Life is not against him. Life is for him. He will be fine.” However, it was hard not to become angry and take sides knowing how much pain he was in. 
 
Without going into detail, he has fought an uphill battle to gain visitation rights to see his 11-year-old daughter. His opponents have stopped at nothing to slander and destroy his character and have gone so far as to accuse him of physically abusing a child. 
 
It never happened, but an 11-year-old boy perjured himself in court and said that it did. After 23 court appearances and a four-day trial, he was finally acquitted and declared not guilty. Sentencing would have resulted in a minimum of one year in prison. When he heard the verdict, he wept.
 
Such cruel tactics are beyond his grasp of understanding, but he knew he had to forgive the situation and forgive that child for lying. This was not only an accusation that could have resulted in false imprisonment and an ongoing battle to be free from the system, but it also created a chasm between him and his daughter that was becoming harder and harder to cross. It is no consolation to realize that each passing day created further risk of potential loss of their relationship, staggering debt due to court and attorney fees, mounting aggravation, and grief.  
 
Before he could come to a clear understanding within himself as to how to forgive, the unspeakable occurred. On Easter morning, within one year of the trial, the boy who had perjured himself committed suicide. We can only imagine the torment he was in. That’s a lot of pain, and it involves a lot of people.  

My friend still struggles with forgiveness, especially since certain forces seem determined to keep him from seeing his daughter. One of the ways he manages his pain is by opening his heart to others. He volunteers one day a week to help the homeless and disenfranchised. He is a gifted musician and enjoys playing the piano and spends some of his time uplifting those who cannot easily lift themselves. This has provided a way for him to filter the anger and create a place for healing within.
 
“A Course in Miracles” teaches that a miracle is simply a shift in perception. It doesn’t call for a 48-piece orchestra or any type of dramatic happening. Miracles occur every day. When we are able to perceive things differently, we experience a miracle. 

That was often the case in “Touched by an Angel.” When the angels provided a glimpse of the the perpetrator's pain, the one who was stuck in un-forgiveness was able to loosen his or her grip and view the experience from a different perspective. That change took divine intervention.  
 
Those three angels taught us a lot about life and living and forgiving, but we can’t rely on them to intervene in our lives. After all that’s TV. However, in order to move forward, it may take a miracle and a belief in angelic forces. And if that miracle will help us gain a different perspective so that we can love and forgive ourselves and others in spite of perceived wrongs, it is a miracle worth believing in. 
 
Believe that no matter how ugly, devastating, hurtful or horrible a situation appears to be, there is a power for good operating on your behalf. We can only experience life from our five senses, but there is something going on beyond that. Because we’re limited in our view, we can’t gather the evidence for it. 

Yet remember, life is for you. It is for you to learn, and grow, and soar beyond the valley of pain and sorrow and guilt and remorse. It will use whatever you create to support you in this endeavor. And it is for you to use everything you’ve got to be all that you can be in spite of setbacks, player haters, and your own fear and doubt. To quote the poet Rumi: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” 

Shirley A. Nelson

Shirley A. Nelson is a writer, retreat leader and certified life skills coach.

Learn More

Latest Stories

Choosing Senior Living

Stay Up to Date

Sign up for articles by Shirley A. Nelson and other Senior Correspondents.

Latest Stories

Choosing Senior Living
Love Old Journalists

Our Mission

To amplify the voices of older adults for the good of society

Learn More

News & Opinion from Senior Correspondents Across the Globe