No one will ever forget the heinous slayings of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother, and seven year old nephew last October. Sorrowfully, tragedies of such an unspeakable nature manage to leave a permanent scar on our hearts and psyches. As many of us scrambled to make sense out of something so cruel and senseless, Jennifer Hudson cleaved to her faith for solace, and sanity.
The Academy Award winning actress and singer recently confessed to being “a mama’s baby,” and that she slept in her mother’s bed until the age of 15. The agony of the violent deaths of her mother, brother, and young nephew nearly drove Jennifer out of the spotlight – forever, but through her faith in The Word, she has managed to do the impossible, and forgive William Balfour for murdering her beloved family members. In her words:
“It’s my faith that gets me through, and where I come from, so I’ve got to give glory to God. I’m a very forgiving person, and once again I serve the mighty God, who is all about forgiveness…. And if I can’t forgive, then how can I expect him to forgive me?”
This utterly profound statement should be an inspiration to us all. How many of us hold the firmest grudges against a person who may hold a mere difference of an opinion from us? How about that undying hatred for that individual who offended you or your sensibilities? It begs the question: Why does is seem so hard for some of us to forgive the inconsequential, while those who have experienced actual heartbreak find it in themselves to forgive the ones responsible for their devastating loss?
Is it that only those who happen to be struck with severe tragedy are more capable of true compassion? To that rhetorical question I reply that we ALL have the ability to forgive. It doesn’t matter what faith you hold; what matters is that you have faith. Apparently, the agony that rests heaviest on our hearts requires absolute forgiveness to aid victims in surviving the destructive effects of grief. Perhaps we could all learn to access a portion of grace to improve the quality of our own lives, at the very least.
Jennifer Hudson’s forgiveness of Balfour is a reminder that every last one of us is capable of the same; and not only of others, but also of ourselves. The beautiful thing about having faith is realizing that punishment is not our responsibility – simply love, respect and mercifulness.
[Photo Credit: Derek Blanks]