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My Take: If Rwandans can forgive killings, we can forgive the waitress
Innocent, left, is a Rwandan who murdered five people, including the brother of Gespard, right.
November 7th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

My Take: If Rwandans can forgive killings, we can forgive the waitress

Editor’s note: Jeremy Cowart is a Los Angeles-based celebrity portrait photographer and founder of Help-Portrait, a global movement of photographers giving free portraits to those in need. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

By Jeremy Cowart, Special to CNN

Would you forgive the bully that tripped you in 3rd grade? What about the terrible service from that lazy waitress? Or the guy who cut you off on the interstate?

What about the man who murdered your children? If he asked you for forgiveness, would you grant it? Would you agree to spend time with him – maybe one day call him your friend?

That's what some in Rwanda are doing: Forgiving and reconciling with murderers who killed their children, friends, siblings and parents during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

See Cowart's Rwanda series on CNN Photos.

I recently met some of them face-to-face.

My journey to them began a year ago, when I attended a conference for young Christians called Catalyst. A filmmaker named Laura Waters Hinson presented her documentary "As We Forgive," about a pair of Rwandan women on a journey to reconcile with the men who slaughtered their families.

The 1994 genocide had seen tens of thousands of Rwandan Hutus, provoked by extremist propaganda, kill roughly 800,000 Tutsi neighbors. Hinson had been showing her film across Rwanda to encourage reconciliation in schools, churches and villages.

After she spoke, I presented "Voices of Haiti," a series of photos I captured in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

At the conference, Hinson and I discussed combining our projects into a "Voices of Reconciliation" photo series. We wanted Rwandans to have an opportunity to make their own statements to the world. Nine months later, I was in Rwanda, working with Hinson and her team.

I grew up in the church and am a practicing Christian. I've heard "love your neighbor" and "forgive others because God forgave you" my entire life. But I don't recall my church ever discussing the idea of forgiving killers.

Our culture certainly doesn't promote the idea. The terms we discuss are "death penalty" vs. "life sentence." We expect full justice at every turn.

No one ever goes so far as to say, "You know, you might consider forgiving the guy that killed your dad." And who would suggest building a relationship with the murderer?

But what if we did forgive because "God forgave us?" Christians believe that God offers forgiveness to the worst of humanity. God, via the death of Jesus, traded places with humanity, bearing the punishment for sin that everyone else deserved. For Rwandans, it’s this theological principle that’s enabling a growing phenomenon of radical forgiveness.

Let's put beliefs aside. What if our entire culture - Christian, Jewish, Muslim, atheist, whatever - forgave everyone,  even our worst enemies?

What if we generously tipped our waitress after terrible service? What if we stopped counting the wrongs of our spouse and gave them a clean slate? What if we forgave the uncle who sexually abused us as a child?

From what I witnessed in Rwanda, this kind of radical grace is possible. While incredibly difficult to accomplish - especially if the offender has not admitted their wrong and asked for forgiveness, it’s a force that has the power to tear down walls and free hearts.

Hinson, whose film led to the creation of a Rwandan reconciliation organization, says that “some Rwandans liken unforgiveness to the experience of having acid eat you from the inside out. Others describe it like being trapped in a prison of hatred.”

“For the victims,” she says, “forgiving their offenders is a way of setting themselves free from the chains of anger and bitterness.”

On the other hand, I was struck by meeting many perpetrators whose burden of guilt seemed to weigh almost as heavily on them as the victims’ burden of pain. Forgiveness released both ends of the burden. It is perhaps the greatest thing I'll ever see in my lifetime.

The guys in the photo above wrote a message on their arms: "Love is the weapon that destroys all evil.”

It's hard to believe that the man named Innocent, left, murdered five people, including the brother of Gespard, right. They are standing on the site of the executions.

After serving a few years in prison, Innocent was released upon confessing to his crimes. He begged Gespard for forgiveness during a reconciliation workshop sponsored by the As We Forgive Rwanda Initiative.

Like many Rwandans, these men participated in a reconciliation process that involved months of workshops, along with praying and doing agricultural work together, part of an ingenious effort to encourage reconciliation and alleviate poverty at the same time.

Today, Innocent and Gespard count each other as friends.

Other messages that survivors and perpetrators wrote on their signs are "Brothers in Forgiveness," "Truth restores trust" and "We restored our humanity."

Maybe we start small and decide to forgive the waitress, no matter what. Maybe if we begin with small acts of grace, we could one day find ourselves practicing radical grace and restoring humanity, too.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeremy Cowart. Cowart's and Hinson's work in Rwanda was funded by a grant from the SEVEN Fund, an organization that promotes enterprise solutions to poverty.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Rwanda • Violence

soundoff (442 Responses)
  1. JAB

    There is a great independent films playing across major US cities called Kinyarwanda. It focuses this very subject and the even surrounding it.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • JAB

      There is a great independent films playing across major US cities called Kinyarwanda. It focuses on this very subject and the event surrounding it.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  2. alex

    you killed my brother and you want forgiveness, right. Stand rightt here while i get my machete to cut your balls off

    November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  3. waycist

    Wow,,, Imagine how much better the world would be if we flooded every first world nation millions of selfless and Noble Africans.
    Unleash the Power of Diversity!

    November 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  4. Brad

    This is a very profound and moving article. However, I have one small issue with it. Yes, forgiving someone takes character and is not an easy thing to do, especially if they've killed a family member. Forgiving someone doesn't necessitate telling them you've forgiven them, making amends with them or even being friends with them. If you can do that, I tip my hat to you.

    My only issue lies with the example of tipping a waitress generously despite bad service. That has nothing to do with forgiveness and in fact can be harmful. Rewarding someone for doing a bad job teaches them that they'll be rewarded no matter what. If you want to forgive an abusive partner or whatever, that's fine, but be careful that you're not teaching them to continue such treatment.

    You don't have to be the person's pal or reward them to forgive them. Forgiveness comes from within.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Sharon

      Well put Brad. Thank you

      November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Me

      Very tactfully and rightfully put Brad.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • BRC

      @Brad,
      I feel kind of the same way. I will grant that I am a fairly cynical person, and that I donn't inherently trust people, so forgiveness would be a bit of a stretch for me to give anyone (I can spot my own flaws). At the same time, I don't believe all acts should be forgiven. There are acts that are simply, purely bad, they should be seen as bad, and the perpetrator of those acts should be held accountable. Forgiveness for all offenses is a great ideology, when acting in a vacuum, or in a population where all members maintian the same moral character (doesn't matter where those morals come from, just so long as everyone agrees that tehr eis right/wrong). If you have individuals in the population that do not agree on those levels, or understand the concept at all (sociopaths), you are going to have someone who is repeatedly forgiven for harming the lives of others.

      If they looked at the concept of moving past any hardship, accepting that wrong was done, allowing justice to take its course, and moving forward with life, I would get behind it. But I just can't give the thumbs up to universal forgiveness.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • karync

      BRC, I agree that people should be accountable for their wrong doings. But, in what you are describing here i can see that it is all forgiveness, which isnt shown in this article. I dont think the point of this article is for world forgiveness, for then it would teach people that doing wrong is okay. But, this isnt meant to override justice, only to follow justice in an attemt to resolve feelings like guilt or anger. So, the world would not be this amazing image if we were all forgiveness and no justice.

      December 13, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  5. Mary

    I thought that she would have been as well. But that is just how things worked out. I was a teen at the time and don't have all the details. I only know that she served no time.

    Why does it seem that you are so angry at Christians. I was waiting for a reply to my post but had to refresh the page to see it. I am more than happy to reply.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      That is weird.

      I am not angry at Christians. I am not angry at anyone (at the moment).

      November 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  6. smathew

    Incredible story!!! Only the people those who have faith in Christ Jesus can do this. Because JESUS practiced the same he preached. Jesus Christ prayed on the Cross for those who crucified him. Only those who have received forgiveness through Christ can do this.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • yooo

      why can only christians be able to forgive people?

      November 7, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Mary

      Any one can forgive. But as Christians, we are commanded to do so. "How can we say we love God, whom we have never seen, and hate our brother who we see daily." Jesus also said if we do not forgive our brother(or sister) then neither will God forgive us when we need forgiveness.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • yooo

      i am a christian, and i have no idea how to forgive people.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Not at all true, as an atheist, I fully support trying to forgive those that do us wrong. If things can be reconciled it's always better to do so then late hate and anger linger. I appose the death penalty on moral grounds and think our justice system should be reformed to rehabilitate (or to hold those who have not hope to be rehabilitated for their own – and society's – good). Punishment is just another word for retribution.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Mary

      Like Nike says, "just do it!"

      November 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Pat

      Anyone can forgive. Please don't be so insular.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Fookin' Prawn

      I think it means more if you forgive without being commanded to do so.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • unknown

      Very sad that you think you can proclaim such a thing for others who have different belief structures. It's sad that your faith somehow makes you have such blind arrogance, maybe you should keep reading and studying, cause either your wrong or your faith is, there are plenty of people meeting the opposite of your statement.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • yooo

      @unknown,

      since 8 people disagree with the statement means he/she is wrong or christianity is wrong?

      "maybe you should keep reading and studying, cause either your wrong or your faith is, there are plenty of people meeting the opposite of your statement"

      November 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • GeneK1953

      I don't forgive people because of my religious beliefs. I do it simply because it's not worth the effort to me to hold a grudge. Admittedly, however, I have never had this opinion tested by anything this extreme and have no way of predicting how I'll handle it. Hopefully, I'll never have to find out.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  7. Alien Orifice

    Have you ever noticed that the Christians almost never answer a question? Unless it is with a question. They just do their little drive by and dissappear. No discussion.

    November 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • yooo

      have you noticed how ignorant your comments are? probably not...

      November 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @yoo
      What is ignorant about my comments? Please explain your comment.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • yooo

      lol like i said, probably not.

      ignorance: 1.Lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.

      Have you ever noticed that the Christians almost never answer a question?
      ^that question expresses all the traits of the definition
      1.) you are assuming that most/all christians never answer a question
      2.) the question in general just shows how uneducated you are
      3.) "the christians" also shows your lack of education.

      i can keep going if you would like

      November 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      @AO
      "They just do their little drive by and dissappear." Can I use that sometime? That is just pure gold.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @yooo
      YES! By all means please keep going. This is very amusing!

      November 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @TruthFairy
      Yes of course! It is all yours.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • BRC

      @yooo,
      Any time someone makes a completely general statement, it's going to be wrong (see what I did there?), but I have to say from my experiences on this blog, questions posed by atheists go unanswered for more often than questions posed by thesists. It isn't universal, J.W., Damian, Chad, Fred, just off the top of my head, will generally stick with a debate till the horse is not only dead, but fully tenderized (I don't tend to agree with any of Chad or Fred's conclussions or processes, but I'll give them that they hang in there). But it has been my overwhelming experience here that if I pose a question that tries to pull a logical point form a theist argument or supposition, I'm not going to get a response. Maybe atheists are just generally feistier and like to argue more, or maybe we're all OCD, but the questions I see posed to atheist's get answers, even if it's several different atheists climbing over one another to provide it.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • TheTruthFairy

      I think it’s because they know that serious questions will often times back them into a corner and expose more of their fallacies for the whole world to see, and possibly even make them question their own faith.

      If they’re able to reach the point of questioning their faith, then I think there is hope for them, but most of the fundamentalists hit the off button, and keep on drivin.

      This isn’t unique to Christians in my opinion.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • yooo

      @BRC,

      There was no logical point to the question, its was a general question assuming all christians cannot answer questions and do their "drive-by" responses. There was nothing to engage someone in a debate about religion so i dont really understand what you are trying to say except that christians tend not to answer questions and athiests tend to argue more. In which case, my statement about being ignorant still stands because your opinion is nothing more than an assumption that is taken from a small sample of people which is not supported by facts.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • yooo

      @truthfairy

      why do you even care what christians believe? you pick apart christinity for what? to uncover fallacies? or is it really to make yourself feel better about your own beliefs? To be honest, you are like those people who walk door to door trying to recruit people into their religion. why cant you just let people believe what they want? why cant you be confortable with what you beleive in and let christians be confortable with what they believe in? In the end, all your b.s. wont matter anyway

      November 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • UhDuh

      "why do you even care what christians believe? you pick apart christinity for what? to uncover fallacies? or is it really to make yourself feel better about your own beliefs? "

      Because you will vote on policies that affect us, not give civil rights to gays because of your bogus beliefs. DUH!

      November 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • yooo

      i apologize for my hideous spelling of comfortable and believe. im sure there is some more mistakes in there as well

      November 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • yooo

      Because you will vote on policies that affect us, not give civil rights to gays because of your bogus beliefs. DUH!

      so because you dont believe in the same thing christians believe you have to attack them? instead of spreading your own philosophies and beliefs the correct and mature way?

      November 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • BRC

      @yooo,
      That could be because Alien orifice wasn't asking a question. While I certainly can't speak for him, it read like he was making a statement (that first line being rhetorical). His statement was that Christians almost never engage in discussion. There is no reason for a statement like that to spark religious debate, that's not the point.

      It's a statement that my observations (with the exceptions I noted and a handful of others), support. Maybe you have seen otherwise, in which case you are going to have a different opinion. But it is not an inherently ignorant opinion (regardless of whether or not it was stated bluntly). Small sample is subjective, in the last 3 months I have commented frequently and stayed up to speed on most of the major posts, and my personal observations (I'll copy and paste the incident that happened this morning if it'll make you happy) are that atheists questions go without answer more often. It is supported by observations taken during certain periods, by certain individuals. I do not know that those observations are representative of the entire population, so it would be difficult to declare anything as a fact, but it is not a baseless statement. If you find the opposite to be more common then so be it, your observations provided a different conclusion. You still shouldn't just guess that the other person's position was ignorant without actually verifying it first.

      November 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @yoooo

      Depending on the person, sometimes its how people come to express themselves after years of repression and being told they are wrong to not believe in god. If only sitting back and allowing people to freely believe in what they want worked when it comes to policy, or even social acceptance. Allow it's gaining momentum, it's still almost social suicide in some circles to proclaim yourself an atheist because of the stigma that was placed on the ti.tle by christians. Now I could sit back, allow people to believe in whatever god they want, but when I see injustice because of those beliefs, the onus is on everyone to stand up and fight ignorance with education and counteract the injustice being done to another human based on facetieous beliefs. The arguments you find here, are a gaggle of repressed rage (I'll be the first to admit there are atheists that come here looking for a fight) and to use education as a way to pull a believer into the realm of critical thinking. Many a debate happens here because people want to discuss the finer points of religion and uncover fallacies because they can and should be uncovered and not given a free pass just because it falls under "religious doctrine". I mean, does it really make sense that religion and religious beliefs are for some reason above reproach?

      November 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • J.W

      I think it may be because of different atti.tudes within Christianity. Like the fundamentalists believe the Bible is the ultimate authority, no questions asked, and the the Catholics believe that the Catholic Church is the ultimate authority no questions asked. If you challenge them they will just be like how dare you. The Christians who enjoy looking a little deeper into their faith are more rare.

      November 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • yooo

      @BRC,

      ok, he was asking a general question. there were no specifics in his questions. he was referring to Christians as a whole, not just christians on blogging websites where the sample CAN (may or may not be) be very biased depending on the websites and blogs you read. so like i said, your observation is an assumption and until you can prove that its is an equal and un biased sample of people it wont be anymore than that. As for referring to "the Christians" it is safe to assume that he was speaking about ALL of the Christians which makes his comment uneducated and/or lacking knowledge because not every christian is like that.

      November 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • yooo

      well nice chatting with you BRC i enjoyed the debate and thank you for being mature about it. I have to go now

      J.W. & Chuckles sorry i couldnt respond

      November 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • BRC

      @Yooo,
      I have to question what makes you think that is a safe assumption. AO is blogging on a specific site. On that specific site, there are people who display the type of behavior AO described. It logically follows, that the description was targetted at people on this site. The broader interpretation, would require assuming that in day to day life, AO walks around asking random "christians" theological questions, and is frustrated because they're not responding, but are in fact literally driving away. Now, I will agree with you that since neither of us made the original statement both of us are guessing at this point, but I think my supposition makes a little more sense, then saying that AO is making a blanket statement about all "christians", not just the ones on here.

      November 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @yooo
      What no hug for me?

      For the record, the statement, since it was made IN this forum was intended to be ABOUT this forum. It did not occur to me that anyone (sooo) would generalize the statement to cast the net any wider. It is an OPINION (mixed with a little sarcasm) based on MY observations. It would be impossible to support this opinion with facts as there is no such database available. I am still not clear why "sooo" feels the statment makes me ignorant, and that he can therefore attack my intellegence or education, which naturally he has no knowledge of. Interesting how he suddently became civilized after the follow up posts. Maybe progress has been made!

      November 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  8. Mary

    I am one of 9 children. in 1979, my oldest brother was stabbed in the heart by his girl friend. They had a one year old child together. She said that she didn't realize what she was doing because she was drunk at the time. she never served any time for his death and my family never pressed charges. We figured that If she could live with it, we could too. We forgave her, though we missed my brother terribly. Their son, my nephew is now a grown man with children of his own. He feels the brunt of his mother's actions. We've reached out to him and tried to let him know that he is a part of our family and that what was done in the past is just that, in the past. I can tell when I see him that he feels the weight of what was done by his mother to his father. She was long ago forgiven by us but he still has not been able to interact with us as a family. My prayer is that he can let go and FEEL and accept the love we have for him and his mother.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I don't understand. Why didin't the DA press charges? That is first or second degree murder. She should have been in prison for a very long time.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • yooo

      touching story, good for you and your family including the boy.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Perhaps I'm mistaken, but it sounds like he may not have forgiven his Mother and/or his Father. It may not have anything to do with you and the rest of your family. Just a thought, that very well could be wrong.

      All the best to you, your nephew, and the rest of your family.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Sherri

      Oh my heavens, I am so sorry for your situation with your nephew? I can't imagine all of the feelings involved in this crime that was committed back then. You are very courageous people to have accepted and forgiven. Please keep reaching out to her son, don't stop trying. Make sure he knows you all have your hearts there for him. He needs you more than you know, he just can't show it....it is very difficult for him. The situation you describe is as unreal as what I have just read...meaning that it doesn't happen often. Because of this very different situation he has found it hard to also reach out to you on a level that he can recognize...does that make sense? Just trying to put myself in his shoes. I am sure it was very difficult for him at times knowing this and dealing with it. He needs to be able to express himself somehow. He may even feel a little freakish and I am not saying this to be mean....just trying to identify and to help. May god be with all of you and am wishing for a resolution for you and him and his mom. Keep the lines of communication open.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  9. RichieP

    This article overlooks two HUGE differences between the situation in Rwanda and murders in America. Firstly, a great many of the Hutus who killed people in 1994 were beaten and forced to kill, literally with a gun or machete to their heads. We've never seen anything like that happen in America, and you can't compare it to the kind of murder we are familiar with. If something like that did happen here, the action of the guy with a gun to his head would not fit the legal definition of murder. Secondly, Rwanda had tens of thousands involved in the killings and no possible way to lock them all up. Letting most of them out was not an act of love; there was no other option. So necessity dictated that they have these killers out on the streets with the families of their victims, and necessity forced the victims to find a way to cope with that situation. As crowded as American jails are, we will always have room for our violent offenders. The only people we have to let out early are potheads and shoplifters.
    All in all, it doesn't make any sense to imply that Americans are primitive and "hard-nosed" while the Rwandan's are more progressive and civilized, since there is no saying that we wouldn't be able to do the same thing if we were in their situation.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      And somebody turned the light on in the room!

      November 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Because gang bangers never force children to deal drugs and/or kill.....

      November 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • yooo

      he was refrencing forgiving a server or someone who cut us off on the road.

      November 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • P

      You draw an important distinction, but ultimately fail to engage the act of forgiveness, thereby demonstrating in your incapacity to conceive of forgiveness precisely the opposite of what you argue. Americans are, in fact, generally averse to 'giving up', which is exactly what forgiveness is about. Forgiveness in all of its senses implies renunciation. The forgiver gives up all claims for redress.

      November 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      P
      From whence do you draw these conclusions? I absolutely agree with RichieP.

      November 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • karync

      RitchieP, I think that most of your argument is made from opinion with no proof to back up your claims. I do know that things like this happen everywhere, even in America. So, in terms of Rwanda's jail or ability to hold prisoners, im not sure that you have the facts to know this for sure. But, even if they do not have room and this is why thousands of prisoners "arent in jail," i do not think that is why there is such a push to forgive right now in their country. Furthermore, this article wasnt intended to make Rwanda seem like a less primitive country than America. Rather, it was only pointing out the difference in the two countries in terms of forgiveness.

      December 13, 2011 at 1:42 am |
  10. Dean

    i would forgive him. i wouldn't try to do anything to him. "vengence is mine, i will repay, thus saith the Lord" enough said.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  11. Anne

    What a great profession of faith. I admire them both. It takes a great deal of humility to ask for forgiveness, and to grant it. This is such a testimony to everyone around the world.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Define what you mean by "testimony". Thanks.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  12. Bill G

    I'm make friends with him so I could later disembowel him

    November 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  13. D.C

    There is nothing harder, I believe, than to forgive a person who has killed someone you loved. Both my parents were killed in a car accident by a reckless driver when I was 15. However the philosophy that my parents taught me allowed me to accept this, forgive, and move on. Almost 15 years later, I've only had a better perspective in life and I will always be grateful for that.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Sorry for your loss D.C. Sounds like you have handled with much maturity and intelligence.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  14. Yarei

    This is a beautiful example of what the power of LOVE can do. With the Lord, all things are possible.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      What does the Lord have to do with it?

      November 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • MadCityBabe

      what a crock – I would NEVER forgive someone you did such a hideous thing....there are some things that simply should not be forgiven!

      November 7, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
  15. Dani

    What's with the author of this article repeatedly mentioning forgiving *waitresses*? Who in their right mind holds bitter grudge holding against a waitress?! Get a clue, Jeremy Cowart. Nobody holds a grudge against a waitress and needs to "learn forgiveness" over bad service!

    November 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Stupid waitresses.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Anne

      As a former waitress, people do hold grudges over small mistakes. Albeit, spilling coke on a customer is not the same as spilling someone's blood; however, I believe he is saying that, in order to forgive people for the bigger things, you have to start with the small things.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Good Lord Ann, how long does it take to get a REFILL??

      November 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
  16. Kevin

    Matt. 6:14-15

    November 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Miami 31: Kansas City 3

      November 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  17. Kofi

    Its a powerful thing the Rwandas are doing. God bless them and keep them. Its a great thing to free from any form of negative energy and it better for a christain because he know he is doing the very work of God. That is being and giving Love.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      What about Muslims, Athiests, Agnostics, Eastern Spiritual Philisophies and other religions around the globe. Can't we all get a little taste?

      November 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  18. Pattydoo2

    Keep your friends close.......but your enemies CLOSER!

    .......then BAM!

    November 7, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  19. The Dude

    I would forgive him, long enough for him to invite me into his home so I could do the same to him.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    I have forgiven some people who have done serious damage to me and my family. I don't make friends out of them, mostly because the forgiveness was not predicated on their repentance and I do not believe in setting me up for more damage or them up for more sin. I believe forgiveness is necessary for living a contented life, and if you keep stewing over what happened, you can turn a one time incident into a lifelong incident all by yourself. I have forgiven some things where the person did repent their action and maintained a relationship with them. Nothing like murdering my family, though.

    November 7, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • William

      That's exactly what I was thinking, Rebecca. It's not like there's only two choices: murdering those who've harmed you, or becoming best friends with them. It's entirely possible to forgive somebody, but still not want to have anything to do with them.

      November 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • MadCityBabe

      screw that – I dont rehash old crap; however, I would move one but I would never forgive – why let the sh__theads of the hook? Nope

      November 7, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.