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Piercing through all of the noise

Forgiveness is the Ultimate Elixir…and an Amazing Brand Credibility Builder

“Hating someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

– Buddha

The first time I heard that was when I watched an interview of, Kathy Sanders whose two grandsons were killed by Timothy McVeigh and his accomplices in the Oklahoma City bombing. In her incredible book Now You See Me, Sanders chronicles her journey of not only how she learned to forgive one of McVeigh’s accomplices, Terry Nichols, but how she befriended him.

I was reminded by the Sanders interview last night while I was watching an ESPN 30 for 30 episodes. In this episode they told the story of another remarkable person, Chris Singleton whose mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton was murdered by Dylan Roof in the Charleston Church massacre.

Singleton’s courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy is beyond words. Speaking for his family Singleton said, “We already forgive him [Dylan Roof] for what he’s done, and there’s nothing but love from our side of the family.”

I think Singleton’s baseball coach speaks for many of us when he remarked, “I don’t know if I could have done that.”

So, why is forgiveness a powerful elixir and great brand credibility builder?

It is an elixir because it frees us from the burden of hate and anger. As Buddha so poignantly put it, hatred and anger are our burdens alone. When we forgive we release this poison.

I am not saying it is easy. From time to time, I struggle with this issue. But, it is certainly a noble standard for which we should all strive.

And why is forgiveness a powerful brand credibility builder? Because it is so rare. In this day in age so many people are consumed by their “justified outrage.” Forgiving and moving on stands in stark contrast to what we see all around us. If we can practice forgiveness we will stand out.

We all admire others who can rise above and forgive.

For most of us, we will, hopefully, never be confronted with the monumental decisions Kathy Sanders and Chris Singleton had to make. The slights (or even wrongs) most of us have or will experience are benign in comparison. If we are honest with ourselves, our umbrage is rooted in foolish pride, which of course is one of the seven deadly sins.

In Tuesdays with Morrie, the author, Mitch Albom asked Morrie Schwartz, his former college professor what was the most important message he wanted to convey as a result of his struggle with ALS to which Morrie responded without hesitation, “Forgive everyone for everything, now.”

And so, we shall try.

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