Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pure Forgiveness

This morning, while listening to the radio, I was surprised to learn that an Aurora shooting victim had forgiven his assailant.

 Pierce O'Farrill, a 28-year-old who was shot three times, said he forgives James Holmes, the suspect in the Aurora massacre.
"I want to see him sometime," O'Farrill said. "The first thing I want to say to him is 'I forgive you,' and the next is, 'Can I pray for you?'"

             "I forgive him with all my heart," O'Farrill told reporters.  "When I saw him in his hearing, I felt nothing but sorrow for him-he's just a lost soul right now."
O'Farrill is a staffer at the Denver Rescue Mission , a Christian charity that helps "people at their physical and spiritual points of need, with the goal of returning them to society as productive, self-sufficient citizens."

As someone who comes from a family of resentful people the concept of forgiveness was not in our vocabulary. If someone did us wrong we stayed pissed off at them forever. Not only was it something to talk about – it was something to drink and do drugs over.
I don't know how many times family conversation started out with "Do you know what that #&!% did?" And then we would commence to rehash our resentment.

When I got into recovery I began to deal with resentments.  Once I forgave, a burden was lifted. No longer did I nurture the real or imaginary wrongs that grew in my brain like mushrooms in a dark warehouse.  I was free at last.
To pray for a homicidal maniac is the purest form of forgiveness. We may never get there - but it's a good goal.