Saturday, August 21, 2021

WHEN WE FORGIVE WE ARE TRANSFORMED, SOCIETY AND RELIGION CHANGE.

STORIES OF FORGIVENESS IN THE MIDST OF VIOLENCE.
Olga Lucia Alvarez Benjumea ARCWP*


Stories that today teach us the value of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the hope of uniting us to rebuild a future without hatred, without violence towards peace. Sincere forgiveness is done with words and actions.

These are rare stories in this country full of hatred and violence, of revenge and vengeance that we need to know as rays of hope for the construction of peace.

To forgive is not synonymous to stop fighting for Human Rights, and even less to tolerate impunity.

Let us understand that forgiveness=amnesty of a political nature is very different from forgiveness=forgiveness of an ethical-Christian nature. Forgiveness is one of the most urgent and important acts for the strengthening of community living. 

In these stories the protagonists are women. Women who have lost their children and their brother. 

Lolita Londoño, (member of the "Madres de la Candelaria"-Medellín) lost her 3 children. Josefa Morelos (member of "Mujeres Espejo"-Cartagena) 1 son, brother of Rosiris Murillo, also of the group Mujeres Espejo. Mercedes Segura Rodríguez, 1 son (member of the Vida Digna Foundation-Buenaventura).

All of them inhabitants of the popular sector in their cities.

Each of them could give us details of their process and maturity in the face of life. 

They are stories that the whole world should know, celebrate and honor for the lessons they leave us.

Lolita, her womb and mother, knowing the story of the young man who murdered her son, adopts him, welcoming into her home, the one who murdered Oscar, her son, and who bears the same name as her son. Her mother's womb never closed to continue giving life and visiting others in prison. 

Josefa and Rosiris, forgive and embrace the one who snatched their loved one from their side and offer him their friendship and welcome. They know and know of the young man who was paid to commit his crime. A young man, known and neighbor of the neighborhood, student of Rosiris and of known history.

Mercedes loses her son, Luis Omar, the only boy. Under the same strategy of the youth gangs already known.

Some for not accepting to join the gang. Others are put to the test for training and to demonstrate that, if they are capable, they are even capable of killing their own friend and neighbor.

To ask for forgiveness and to forgive is free. You don't find this attitude in the market.

Without being in their shoes, it is very easy to say: "they are weak". But today we see them as pioneers of forgiveness and strong as warriors, on the front line of reconciliation and peace.

They are free and brave women, no one can stop them in their courage, work and decision to change society and religion.

For them, there is no question that makes them falter in their determination for peace. "Are you going to forgive?", "How can you think of it?", "After what they did to you?", "What does that solve, you are not going to resurrect your son?", "What they have done to you, God will not forgive".

The lesson that these stories challenge us and force us to reflect, to think about our attitudes and even the fuss we make over insignificant trifles.

Forgiveness is the threshold that allows us to jump over grudges, and be free to live in peace, happiness, joy in community, family and social coexistence.

It is our time to forgive and to be forgiven in order to achieve PEACE!

*Roman Catholic Presbyterian

Envigado, August 20, 2021

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