Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The power of forgiveness

Everyone makes some sort of improve-your-life resolution this time of year. Like many of us, I’m grateful for my family and my health and have resolved to strengthen both. While I have yet to kick my workouts into high gear (tomorrow, I promise!), I consciously try to strengthen my relationships with my closest family every day. I cherish and enjoy my moments with these blessed people and I’m mindful of every single day that I have with them—no matter how difficult the day (or person!) may be.

My work on MPT’s Campaign for Love and Forgiveness has magnified the importance and impact of love and forgiveness in my life over the last year. There are many paths to forgiveness, and it’s something that must be practiced every day. The Prayer in America documentary recently broadcast on MPT explored different ways that Americans use prayer, including asking for strength and guidance to forgive others and oneself. A recent Direct Connection episode (available on MPT's YouTube page) highlighted the experiences and perspectives of Dr. Gordon Livingston on this topic. Dr. Livingston is a local author and psychologist who has written books and lectures widely from the perspective of a parent who has lost a child.

This week we’ll be airing the documentary Anyone and Everyone, which illustrates the strong bond of love between parent and child. Through the stories of parents of gay youth from various religions and cultures, we learn important and universal lessons about love and acceptance. During broadcast of this moving film on Friday, January 18 from 9-10:30 p.m., MPT will open our phone lines (800-222-1292) to refer viewer calls to local support services, spiritual resources and related organizations to strengthen families of gay youth.

Turns out that there’s a health benefit to love and forgiveness, too. A recent Baltimore Sun article cites new research that forgiveness may be “medicine for the body.” Other studies have illustrated that “forgiveness interventions…can improve cardiovascular function, diminish chronic pain, and boost overall quality of life.” The upcoming documentary The Power of Forgiveness (airing on MPT March 19) traces some of this research and explores recent notable stories of forgiveness. Apparently, love + forgiveness = stronger bodies. Who knew?

So it turns out I’m killing two resolutions with one love & forgiveness stone. Pretty good deal. Here’s wishing all of you a strong, healthy and love-filled 2008!

Faith E. Michel
Director of Community Outreach Initiatives

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