A collection of inspirational videos and text featuring America’s finest religious thinkers, stories of personal faith, and reflections on spiritual topics, gathered from television broadcasts of 30 Good Minutes, a weekly multifaith program in Chicago.
Joanna Adams, Pastor Emerita of Morningside Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia, says forgiveness is not an act of will, but a function of divine grace; and with God's help, the bonds that keep us in bitterness and anger can be broken.
Preacher, educator, writer and community leader, the Rev. Dr. Joanna M. Adams is Pastor Emerita of Morningside Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Other Presbyterian churches Joanna has served during her 30 years of ministry include Atlanta's Central and Trinity, North Decatur, and Chicago's Fourth Presbyterian Church. A graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary, Joanna holds an honorary doctorate of divinity from Davidson College and also has received the Alumni Assoication Medal of Honor from Emory University and Columbia Theological Seminary's Disinguished Alumni/ae Award.
Reflection on Forgiveness by Tom McGrath
I let my daughter fall from a swing one day. She was an adventurous two-year-old who always wanted to swing on what she called the “big-kid fwings.” One afternoon I let her. At first I watched her closely, but as the repetitive effort of pushing and pushing her on that swing wore on, for one moment my attention drifted.
Just once, I pushed a little too low and a little too hard and she flipped over and fell on the asphalt, right on her head. I was devastated. How could a father allow such a thing to happen? I could feel the eyes of all the dutiful parents on the playground glaring at me in scorn. My daughter cried, shocked that her daddy could let her down so.
I scooped her up and held her. I rubbed her head and kissed it. I murmured apologies and soothing words. Inside I berated myself and worried over greater, more serious parental lapses that would be sure to happen in years to come and I felt unworthy.
At that moment my daughter stood on her tiptoes and kissed my forehead. Her eyes were still wet, but she smiled. She looked at me and I asked her if she was better.
“Fwing better,” she said, smiling, trying to boost herself up on the swing again.
I had not been the perfect parent. And though the lapse was a brief and minor one, it stood for all the mistakes I knew I was sure to make down the road. And yet, because my wife and I had been able to give her love and show her mercy, my daughter was able to shower mercy back on me as well. Just when I needed it most.