By Life Positive March 2000 Deeply ingrained in Gladys Staines are the teachings of the Bible. Even after the brutal murder of her missionary husband, Graham Staines, and their two sons, in Orissa, India, she forgives all to start life afresh It wasn’t something I had thought about. But when I heard that the family was dead, I told Esther, my daughter: ‘We’ll forgive those who killed them, won’t we?’ And she said: ‘Yes, Mummy, we will.’ Two weeks later someone approached me at her school and said: ‘I can’t understand how you can forgive.’ My daughter later told me: ‘Mummy, I can’t understand how they can’t understand why we have forgiven.’ That was when I understood how deeply the teachings of Christ had penetrated within my daughter. Forgiveness brings healing. It allows the other person a chance to start life afresh. If I have something against you and I forgive you, the bitterness leaves me. It also allows you to accept the forgiveness and move on. Forgiveness liberates both the forgiver and the forgiven. How was I able to forgive? The truth is that I myself am a sinner. I needed Jesus Christ to forgive me. Because I have forgiveness in my own life, it is possible for me to forgive others. I had also read much about the power of forgiveness. For instance, the Church in China had been much persecuted during the earlier regimes and many had suffered terribly. Even so, many had publicly proclaimed their forgiveness of their tormentors, and this fact had inspired many more to become Christians. The Bible teaches you to forgive. Jesus Christ set the example. When crucified and suffering, he asked God to forgivethose who had killed him for they ‘know not what they do’. I have forgiven those who killed my family, but I still have to heal fully. I still have to go through the grieving process for the people whom I loved who are not here. I feel their absence deeply. And it has affected my sense of physical well-being. There is no anger but there is a deep sadness. As for what remains, I would love to continue what Graham had begun. I knew from the start that God had called me to work in India. Earlier, it was as Graham’s wife. Now it will be on my own. Those whom Graham looked after still need help, love and caring. I can’t just pack my bags and leave. I can’t see myself doing anything else but this present work. I’m planning to make a 40-bed hospital for our leprosy home. I’ve received tremendous kindness from the people of Orissa. People had a high regard for Graham. Because of the way everything’s happened, God had given me the opportunity to go to and speak at many places. I’m grateful for the love I’ve received from total strangers.
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