The Power of Forgiveness

Spending 3 days in Dresden Germany this week was a great experience and speaking at the European Procurement Excellence Summit was the highlight of the trip. The response to my talk was extremely positive and I am now in discussions for more potential work in Germany.

Marcel Deveraux is the person from Germany who has helped me secure this conference booking as well as a Masterclass I delivered in Dortmund in March. I first met Marcel two years ago when I delivered my Mental Resilience Masterclass to 24 key people from the NSG Pilkington Group.

Great multicultural training

Leaders from across the world came together for 2 weeks leadership training which included a Masterclass from me. They came from the USA, Germany, Poland, Brazil, Italy, India, China, Japan, Argentina and the UK.

The Masterclass went well, and Marcel came to me at the end and told me that my session could be well received in Germany. A year and a half later I was in Dortmund, and this week in Dresden. You just don’t know where conversations will lead.

A wonderful connection

Marcel has also been instrumental in my being booked again for this NSG Pilkington Group leadership training in December. He is a great man and we get on really well and long may this friendship continue.

This morning I had some fun reviewing newspapers on BBC Radio Nottingham which is something I enjoy. Francis Finn is a great host and it’s good to find unusual stories to share with the listeners.

A great story of forgiveness

I came across this story of Pope John Paul II and how he forgave the man who shot him four times. He survived and had the right to hate this man who shot him, but he did the opposite which changed everything:

The forgiveness of Pope John Paul II

Those in positions of power often set the standards of behaviour for those that look up to them. This has the potential to be destructive, but sometimes, our leaders get it very right.
On May 13th, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot four times by Mehmet Ali Ağca as he crossed St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.

Two bullets struck the pope in the stomach, while one struck his right arm, and another, his left index finger. In immense pain, the pope was bundled away by his security team, and despite severe blood loss, the pontiff survived.

An act of kindness

When we consider what an act of kindness is, we don’t often think of simple forgiveness. It’s an ephemeral thing—something we can’t see or touch. But forgiveness is, in fact, one of the most profound acts of kindness imaginable.

Even though Ağca—who had recently escaped from a Turkish prison, where he was held on charges of murder—attempted to murder Pope John Paul II, the pope immediately, openly, and, in his own words, “sincerely” forgave the man.

He forgave him

In 1983, John Paul II even went so far as to visit his would-be assassin, engaging the man in a private conversation, befriending him, and staying in touch with his family. In 2000, the pope requested that Ağca be pardoned.

That request was granted, and Ağca was released from his Italian prison, although he was still compelled to serve out the remainder of his Turkish sentence.

He changed completely

After the pope’s visit, Ağca converted to Christianity, and was finally released in 2010, returning to Rome in 2014 to lay two dozen white roses at John Paul II’s tomb.

These simple acts of forgiveness changed the very heart of Ağca, where anger and condemnation might have only hardened him.

Nothing is simultaneously harder and easier than sincere forgiveness. But it is also the most powerful tool we have in the quest for kindness. The changed heart of Mehmet Ali Ağca is a testament to this.

Unforgiveness only hurts us

When we don’t forgive anyone who has hurt us, we are actually hurting ourselves. Often the people who have hurt us are going about their lives totally oblivious of the pain we are going through.

We are the ones who are suffering on a daily basis as we replay the events and the injustice of what they did. No amount of anger or hate will make you feel better only forgiveness brings healing and peace.

This is extremely hard to do but if we keep dwelling on the hurt, we are the ones who suffer over and over again. I have forgiven many people who have hurt me in the past, it was very difficult and, in some cases, took several years to fully forgive them.

However, the peace I now have as a result of this made it all worthwhile.

Thoughts for the week:

1. What do you think about forgiveness?
2. Do you have anyone in your life who you haven’t forgiven for something they did?
3. What do you think about my theory that unforgiveness hurts you?
4. Would you consider forgiving someone who has hurt you or is that unfair?
5. Experts say that forgiveness is a healing process which eventually brings peace.

Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.

Warm regards


Off the Wall – How to Develop World Class Mental Resilience available HERE (Special offer. Put in code 10POUND when prompted to receive a signed copy for £10 including postage and packing – UK only)

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