Each person and situation is another opportunity for us to love and to forgive. Doing those two things sets us free. While It’s easy to love those who treat us with loving kindness and those with whom we share common ground, it is much harder to get past our judgements and shine love and forgiveness into the darkness. Yet, the revelations I received over the past two decades tell us to love everyone without exception. So how do we love abusers, murders or rapists and what forms can that love take?

Through the Light Within Project, which I started to deliver messages of love, acceptance and forgiveness to incarcerated men and women, I have discovered, yet again, the transformative power of love and forgiveness. The Project was conceived of in hopes of helping inmates to find the Light within themselves. It has had the unintended consequence of making me a pen pal to inmates accused of some terrible crimes. What I thought would be me helping them has turned out, in equal measure, to be them helping me.

As one inmate, Ray, wrote: “I was a kid running wild, going through life with no rules or boundaries blaming everyone for why my bad decisions had locked me up all my life … I am living proof that God is real. I ‘was’ the gang member, the criminal, the dope fiend, and most of all the prisoner, not just behind bars, but to all this. God set me ‘free’. I don’t have no hate for nobody, I don’t blame my parents for my messed up childhood, I don’t blame the past for anything. I love the Lord with all my heart.”

Ray went from being a prisoner of life to being a free man in prison.

Spirit said, There is no drug as powerful as forgiveness. Forgive yourself, and forgive those who trespass against you. Our act of forgiveness frees us from a self-imposed prison while simultaneously freeing the other from the prison bars created by our judgement and self-righteousness. If you are in need of healing, then please give forgiveness a try. You may be surprised at the results.