Ten Great Moments in Forgiveness History
8th Century BC: The Sabine women implore the Sabine men not to attack their Roman abductors, who are now their lawfully wedded husbands.
AD 29: Christ forgives from the cross.
13th Century: Genghis Khan (yes, that Genghis Khan) spares the life of blood-brother turned bloody revolt leader Jamukha, who, alas, admits he prefers death.
April 9, 1865: Union general Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain salutes Confederate soldiers on the eve of the surrender at Appomattox.
1947: After only a moment’s hesitation, Corrie ten Boom is glad to shake the hand of a guard from the concentration camp where she and her sister had been held.
December 27, 1983: Pope John Paul II visits his would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, who shot him in the abdomen in St. Peter’s Square, and forgives him.
September 16, 1990: Representative John Lewis, severely beaten during the civil rights movement, writes in a New York Times op-ed that George Wallace, former arch-segregationist governor of Alabama, is a “changed man” and should be forgiven.
1990: Nelson Mandela, recently released after twenty years in a South African prison, tells a rally, “We especially need to forgive each other, because when you intend to forgive, you heal part of the pain, but when you forgive you heal completely.”
2003: In a dramatic event captured on CBS, Reo Hatfield and Bo McCoy sign an “official truce” that formally ends a more than century-old family feud that began over a stolen pig.
October 2, 2006: Within hours of the school shootings that left five little Amish girls dead, members of the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, visit the killer’s wife to offer comfort and support.