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3 Words That Change Everything


What’s your typical response when someone cuts you off on the road? Do you speed up beside them? Curse at them? Flip ’em off?

How about when someone close to you hurts you or betrays you? What’s your reaction? Do you quietly sit back and take it or do you try and get even? If you’re honest, you probably choose the latter option. It’s the option that’s always available. Unfortunately, it’s the option that’s almost always chosen.

Whether you’re shouting an expletive at someone who just cut you off or you’re engaging in a knock-down, drag-out with someone you love, retaliation is never the answer. It’s never, and never will be, the solution that gets you what you’re really looking for. But it’s what we do. We’re wired for it. Our culture is addicted to it. You push me. I push back. Disagree with me. I’ll shoot you down. You insult me. I try and humiliate you. Wrong me and I’ll try and bury you.

When our ego is challenged, we seek retribution by any means necessary. Blow for blow. Tit for tat. Eye for an eye. Nothing is off limits. And it’s because of these flawed mindsets that we’ve become so entrenched in this seemingly never-ending cycle of revenge… a cycle that is literally killing us.

Even in the wake of the the senseless, horrific massacre that occurred last week at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, opinions and agendas are still being sought after more passionately than silence, unity, and reconciliation. We’re still more focused on words like race-baiting and gun control than we are with words like restoration and grace. We’re still more concerned with what our president is saying and the timing of his words than we are with what our lives are SAYING in response to these all-too-familiar tragedies. We share quotes by MLK and Maya Angelou about overcoming hate with love then not even a day later share things that are in direct opposition to what they spent their lives fighting and bleeding for.

So, what do we do? What ends this cycle? What brings about healing? What creates authentic, sustainable change? What is the ultimate answer?

I’ll let Nadine Collier answer that last question. She’s the daughter of Ethel Lance. And here’s what she had to say to the man who murdered her mother. “You took something very special to me. I will never be able to hold my mom again, but I forgive you,”

I FORGIVE YOU. Three words that changed everything.

She didn’t say, “I hope you burn in hell.” She didn’t say, “I hope you die for what you did.” She said, “I FORGIVE YOU.” How on earth do you utter those words to the man who took the life of your mother? How do you display that level of compassion in the midst of the most heartbreaking thing you could ever experience?


Nadine Collier, along with several other family members affected by this tragedy, chose to free herself from the shackles of hostility, aggression, and animosity. She chose to liberate herself instead of being imprisoned by hate.

The next time you clench your fist to hold ever so tightly to an offense, a grudge, or a wrong, may you be overtaken by a greater desire to open your hands to love and forgiveness. Because then and only then…will everything change.

“Forgiveness is not weakness; it is the power of God – the power of God to overcome evil by depriving evil of a host for retaliation.” -Brian Zahnd







06/21/2015 / Author: admin / Comments: 0 / Blog Categories:

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