Texas Faith 126: How do we forgive?

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Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

Three days after police found the body of 17-year-old Ivan Mejia in the woods in Garland, his father, Flavio, offered forgiveness to those responsible for the young man’s murder. It was the family’s first public statement.

Two of Ivan’s classmates are in custody for the murder, something police say occurred because of a fight over a girl.

Forgiveness is central to so many faiths. But how do we forgive? And what does forgiveness do for the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven? Can true forgiveness come so quickly as the Mejia family offered it, or must it come through time and grief?

Below is Flavio’s statement.

First, we want to thank you on behalf of our family for

respecting our privacy and our silence. We want Ivan to be remembered as a good servant of society who sought the well-being of others and gave a friendly hand in very humble ways and without pretensions. Also he held in high esteem his faith and his passion for Jesus.

It is because of the faith that we profess and that we instilled in Ivan that we hold no grudge toward the people involved in this unfortunate event. We pray for their families because we understand that just like us they are going through a very unpleasant time. We thank God for his strength, for his care

of our family. We thank from our heart our congregation El Lugar de Su Presencia, the community, friends and relatives who have been of help and blessing in these moments that are so difficult for our family.

We have the certainty that our Ivan lived each moment of his life impassioned by his Creator and we know that he did it as a good soldier of Christ. Like the word says in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have kept the faith.”

Thanks for your attention. We bless you in the name of Jesus.

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

In the Vedas is said that the beauty of a saintly person is their forgiveness.  It is the quality of those who trying to advance their spiritual consciousness.  It is described that that the chief of all demigods, Brahmā achieved that post because of his superb quality of forgiveness.  Krishna, God Himself, becomes please with those who are forgiving. 

This quality of forgiveness is realized when one understands that God is the supreme controller.  One should not be upset with the instruments of one's own karma.  So for one's own pains a person should be tolerant.  This is personal forgiveness, if others are harmed a person should do their part to protect. This is especially in regards to those who are in leadership, who have the duty and nature to protect others.  Such persons should not avoid corrective methods for the abusive behavior of the unrepentant. 

To see all responses of the TEXAS Faith panel click here.