Love and forgive, naturallyBy Bradley Siebert
Recently, I had an “NPR moment.” I’d reached my destination and couldn’t turn off the radio, but instead sat in my car, finishing a captivating story on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”
The story I couldn’t not finish was Kim Phuc’s.
You may remember Kim Phuc as the focus of possibly the most famous Vietnam War photograph. She was 9 in 1972, when the picture was taken. Napalm has burned her clothes off. Naked and seemingly alone amid several other children and grownups, she runs, screaming, down the road from her incinerated village.
Now 45, she told her story, “The Long Road to Forgiveness,” for NPR’s “This I Believe” series.
Napalm scarred her for life, and some consequent experiences scarred her temporarily. She describes how her physical pain and personal suffering turned to anger and hatred.
She still suffers pain from her injuries. But she has experienced spiritual healing through her struggle to forgive.
She writes: “God helped me to learn to forgive — the most difficult of all lessons. It didn’t happen in a day, and it wasn’t easy. But I finally got it.
“Forgiveness made me free from hatred. I still have many scars on my body and severe pain most days, but my heart is cleansed.
“Napalm is very powerful, but faith, forgiveness and love are much more powerful. We would not have war at all if everyone could learn how to live with true love, hope and forgiveness.”
I concur. But I have few illusions that everyone ever will.
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