"We have seen the unpredictable, outrageous, and creative thing we do when we forgive another human being.

"We reverse the flow of seemingly irreversible history . . . of our own history . . . of our private painful history. We reverse the flow of pain that began in the past when someone hurt us, a flow that filters into our present to wound our memory and poison our future. We heal ourselves.

"It is utterly unpredictable; no one could suspect, in the nature of things, in the natural cause and effect of things, that anyone should ever forgive.

"We perform a miracle that hardly anyone notices.

"We do it alone; other people can help us, but when we finally do it, we perform the miracle in the private place of our inner selves.

"We do it silently, no one can record our miracle on tape.

"We do it invisibly, no one can record our miracle on film.

"We do it freely, no one can ever trick us into forgiving someone.

"It is outrageous. When we do it we commit an outrage against the strict morality that will not rest with anything short of an even score.

"It is creative. When we forgive we come as close as any human being can to the essentially divine act of creation. For we create a new beginning out of past pain that never had a right to exist in the first place. We create healing for the future by changing a past that had no possibility in it for anything but sickness and death.

"When we forgive we ride the crest of love's cosmic wave; we walk in stride with God.

"And we heal the hurt we never deserved.”