What is the purpose of forgiveness? When you’re the party that has been wronged, it can feel like forgiveness only stands the person who has wronged you. That all it will do is make them feel better when they don’t deserve to.
Nobody could have blamed Thordis Elva for feeling that way about Tom Stranger, who raped her at their school dance when she was just 16 years old. Yet the video above tells a remarkable story of strength, courage and yes, forgiveness, that shows how powerful it can be.
The power of forgiveness reaches far beyond the person being forgiven, and even the person doing the forgiving, to our ability as people to recognise and relate to our shared humanity. Even when one of us does something that feels inhuman.
When we’re able to do this, we take a vital first step towards understanding the reasons why people who are capable of good do things which are so evil, and that, as Thordis and Tom show us, is the first step towards freeing ourselves from the suffering they cause.