Forgiveness can be the most difficult step in the search for resolution, but as these stories below show, it can also be the first step to peace—no matter how horrendous the circumstances. In honor of International Day of Peace, we share three amazing stories of forgiveness.
The prisoner who forgave her Nazi captor
Corrie Ten Boom, her sister, and her father were imprisoned in the concentration camps of Nazi-occupied Netherlands for harboring Jews. Ten Boom was the only member of her family to survive imprisonment. Decades later, she came face to face with one of her captors. Believing that forgiveness would allow her to rebuild her life, she embraced his hand and forgave.
The mother who forgave her son’s killer
Samereh Alinejad’s son Adbollah was stabbed to death in a street fight in Iran in 2007. Samereh had already lost one child years ago. The night before her son’s killer was to be executed, Samereh had a dream in which Abdollah had wished for forgiveness and decided to pardon the man.
The Rwandan genocide survivor who forgave a Hutu militant that murdered her family
Immaculee Ilibagiza was forced into hiding during the Rwandan Genocide. She hid for three months in a tiny bathroom with seven other women, until the killing was over, only to discover that her entire family living in Rwanda had been killed by Hutu militants. Years later, Ilibagiza, a Tutsi, visited the prison where one of her family’s killers was incarcerated. She believed the rest of his life would be one of torment and regret. Taking pity on him, she offered all that she could by saying the unthinkable, “I forgive you.”