Forgiving the Unforgivable

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13 Responses to “Forgiving the Unforgivable”

  1. I want to thank Tom Hudgens for sharing this amazing story with us. It is well written, heartfelt and made me feel hopeful for a world where as he describes his wishes: “……I want to live in, where people can come together and talk and come to deeper understandings.” Beautifully said.

    I was deeply touched by his descriptions of John Black. Clearly, Tom’s heart was open when he attended this meeting and this allowed him to see John Black for who he was that day not the day he murdered his sister. I was equally touched by John Black’s statement about Tom’s sister: “I think, through you, your sister still has something yet to say to me.” What a powerful awareness to have and how brave to be open to hearing not only from the sister’s living brother but also from the sister he had murdered. This says to me he had taken full responsibility for his actions and was willing to bear the full weight of hearing of the pain he had caused. Through Tom’s willingness to meet with John it would appear they both received healing.

    The divine timing of it all is a miracle in and of itself. I loved how Tom showed the magical sychronicity when he said: “He delivered his first sermon three years ago, the same year I began meditating at Spirit Rock in Marin County, California. The subject: reconciliation.”

    I have taken so many things away from this reading and one of the most important is the reminder to stay with the mystery. In the words of Tim Hudgen:
    “Learning to live with mystery is, to me, an important aspect of any spiritual path.” WOW!! What a wonderful reminder and Tom had you just said this to me and not shared the intimate details of your path to forgiveness these words would not have been as meaningful to me. Your forgiveness was not conditional, not based on “facts” that would help you make sense of it all. This is a very powerful lesson about the mind. It thinks it needs data to understand, to decide what to do next when what it needs is trust and in my opinion guidance from spirit.

    Thank you! and thank you Soul Code I love this site. I will be recommending it to my friends.


  2. amazing story…read something recently that probably is applicable here…”forgiveness does not mean what you did is ok to me…it simply means i am no longer willing to carry around pain in response to your actions”…

  3. i almost cried like a million times

  4. Hi Tom,
    Your heart rending tale of forgiveness will always stay in my heart and would always serve as a beacon light!
    Thank you very much for having the courage to share your own story with all of us!
    God bless you!
    Best Regards,
    Sagira. J

  5. Hi Tom,

    To err is human and to forgive is divine!!! Tom, you have set a great example to mankind.

    Wish you luck and God bless you always – Take care


  6. Hmm. Well. I was raped, and I think you’re full of CRAP. It’s very easy for people who have never been through trauma to sit and tell you how wise you are: I think you’re an idiot. Forgiveness means to stop letting another person’s toxicity affect you. You can do that without going head-to-head with a murderer. I noticed that you told him more about your sister. WHY? Does he deserve to know, simply because he raped and murdered her?

    But maybe you’re on to something. I should send my rapist a newsletter. You know. Just so he knows I haven’t forgotten.

    I hope you realize that sociopaths get off on attention like that. If you felt the need to forgive – fine. But when you contacted him, you were playing into his hands. I’m sure he was bored in his cell 24/7 and jumped for joy when he found out he had the opportunity to relive it and rehash the details – with one of her family members – who wanted to FORGIVE HIM!

    Sociopath – 1
    Tom – 0

  7. Dear Tom

    May your heart and soul be filled with happiness. Everyone has the right to feel free of burdening and confusing emotions. I am sorry for your loss. But at the same time, what you did very few people can.

    Bless you

  8. Dear Tom,
    I thank you very much for sharing your greatness of spirit, shown in your act of forgiveness. It is so much easier to blame and be a victim, and so much more freeing to see the high perspective where we are love and light, and act from that. We all behave in hurtful ways, each time we forget that love in our heart.

    Thank you again,
    With love & kindness

  9. My only problem with this story is that the offender was very forgivable. He was repentent, open, and kind. The title to this article is misleading. There is a huge difference when somebody doesn’t want to be forgiven or doesn’t care if you forgive them.

    In this story, he author gets closure by talking to the offender in an edifying way. But, if the offender doesn’t want to talk to the offended and hates the offended, what closure can there be in this manner? You can forgive all day long, but when there is no closure, no admission of guilt, no remorse from the offender, that’s a very different thing and a much harder pill to swallow for the offended. This article doesn’t address that, which is what I was hoping for. It’s a feel good hollywood movie story. I can’t draw much from it for myself and apply it to the heinous, real world things I have met with in my life. Life is more gritty than this swill. Other than that, it was well written.

  10. June 28, 1976. I was 16. My sister 18. Her boyfriend took a risky move driving and she died. She had basically left home to live with him, and had not reconciled with my parents or me before she left without notice, about three weeks earlier. I had seen her since, but not my parents.

    Two weeks ago, I am back home, visiting my mom. I was teaching her about how to add friends into Facebook. One of his sisters came into the conversation. And what’s he doing, I ask. Oh, he lives in town she said. He has two grown daughters.

    I know my mother very well. She never had any anger toward him. She certainly missed her daughter, my sister. We’d cried plenty over her being gone. But never any anger toward him. We were sad for him, but never any anger or blame.

    The moment talking about him passed. No drama or workshops or epiphany.

    My conclusion is this: the forgiveness is not for the other person.

    My life gave me several chances to relearn this. One that comes to mind is when I was beaten beyond recognition at age 21 in the process of getting my car stolen. I had flashbacks and nightmares for years following. After all the adrenalin and years passed, the only thing that gave me any peace was forgiving the person that I knew I would never see again.

    Eckhart Tolle’s book Awakening describes my experience better than I can. You can read that if you or someone you know it trying to forgive.

  11. This is truly a beautifully moving story. I personally don’t believe in meditation, but I do believe in God. What I saw here was the moving of the Lord to prompt a young man’s heart to forgive a horrific crime, so that one of His children could repent. Our God is so good and so gracious.

    This in no way minimizes what you did Tom. When the Lord prompts we all have the choice of refusing, but you didn’t. That took tremendous bravery and was an act of true grace, to give what John didn’t deserve.

    May God bless you for your willingness to forgive and lead you to the true source of life and peace, Jesus Christ.

  12. Tom, Thank you for sharing your terrible story. I am so sorry for your loss. Your story made me cry. Not neccessarily because i was sad. I am glad thier are people like you in this world. My best friend was brutally raped,but luckily survived. I was so mad at the rapists that i could’nt go to the trial. We all are human and have “crosses” to bear. Thank God you were able to forgive and become who God wants you to be.Thank you again i will never forget your courage and strength. LOVE PEACE AND JOY.

  13. Theresa, I agree with Dani forgiveness wthuoit forgetting isn’t really forgiveness. We have to look at Christ as our example. I have heard well meaning Christians say, well, I forgive you, but I will never trust you with that again. The heart of that is because you did me wrong, I won’t forget it! ever! The lack of forgiveness only steals from us and opens the door for the enemy to have a foothold in our life. The more we understand our own debt being paid in full with nothing held over our heads as payment, the more we can give back out to others all that we have received.