Rabbi Irwin Khula is being interviewed on The Today Show right now about the forgiveness of the Amish community in Pennsylvania after the horrific tragedy of the schoolhouse shootings. The rabbi just said something amazing and beautiful. In answer to Matt Lauer's question, "Is forgiveness a religious issue?" He said, "No--I believe there's a fundamental, powerful yearning in all humans for connection. Forgiveness becomes, 'How big is your story?' If you start your story at the violence and proceed from there, you're going to find it difficult to forgive. But if you can expand your story to include all of this person's painful life, his woundedness, his illness, his family, you will be able to see how much led up to this moment.'" And then, with understanding, forgiveness is within reach.
There's a line in A Course in Miracles that has been one of my favorites for years: Seek to understand another and you cannot fail to love him. When we can expand our view, letting the story be bigger than the horrific act, our understanding brings compassion, we begin to grasp the struggle, and ultimately, we may find ourselves connecting--and then forgiving--in a profound way.