I don’t watch a lot of TV, but during the recent summer holidays I caught up on a couple of movies. Armed with a cold drink and a box of tissues, my first movie was The Railway Man, starring the gorgeous Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. The second was Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie and starring, well, no one particularly famous (opinion only!).
Both movies are based on real stories, and to be honest, they are emotionally hard going, thus the tissues. Both involve the incredible suffering inflicted by one man on another in the midst of war. But the most remarkable similarity between the movies is the journey the two men take to do what most of us couldn’t; to forgive the unforgivable.
Why am I mentioning this? Well, forgiveness is one of the core themes in the Jubilee Year of Mercy. For those who aren’t familiar with this event, last year Pope Francis called for a Jubilee Year of Mercy to take place from 8 December 2015 until 20 November 2016. Jubilee Years are not uncommon; they pre-date the birth of Jesus. Commonly held every 50 years, communities would be freed from debt by their masters, fields left bare in order that they may rejuvenate, slaves were set free and folk were reminded of God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Forgiveness. It’s something we seek when we have been hurt, and it’s something we desire when we have hurt another. Forgiving can be confronting, and humiliating. It can also be liberating. In the rough and tumble of all our relationships (marriage, children, friendships, work) it can be what breaks or makes us. The two movies I mentioned above really challenged me to look at my own relationships that could be healed and strengthened by the simple words – “I’m sorry”. Personally speaking, trying to get those two small words out of my mouth is sometimes very hard.
This year our family magazine will look at the different facets of what mercy looks like in real life. We hope you enjoy the new format and wider range of contributors and we would love to hear your thoughts. So drop us a quick line if you have the time.
PS – A wise friend once told me that if you are trying to say sorry to your loved one, and you can’t get the words out, start by holding their hand.