Famous Forgiveness Miracle Stories

Modern Miracles - The Miraculous Power to Forgive

When famous people forgive those who have deeply hurt them, they can inspire many other people to pursue forgiveness in their own lives. But forgiveness doesn't come easily to people. Some say that the power to forgive is miraculous since only God can help people overcome bitterness and destructive anger to forgive. Here are some modern stories of miraculous forgiveness that made the news worldwide:

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Woman Injured by Bombs Forgives the Pilot Who Coordinated the Attack:

power to forgive
Courtesy of the Kim Foundation International. Photo © Nick Ut, all rights reserved, courtesy of the Kim Foundation International

Kim Phuc was severely injured as a girl in 1972 by napalm bombs dropped by U.S. military planes during the Vietnam War. A journalist snapped a famous photo of Phuc during the attack that caused outrage worldwide about how the war affected children. Phuc endured 17 operations during the years after the attack that took the lives of some of her family members, and she still suffers pain today. Yet Phuc says she heard God calling her to forgive those who hurt her. In 1996, during Veterans Day ceremonies at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., Phuc met the pilot who had coordinated the bombing attack. Thanks to God's power working within her, Phuc says, she was able to forgive the pilot.



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Leader Imprisoned for 27 Years Forgives His Captors:

Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk in Moria
Gideon Mendel / Getty Images

Former South African leader Nelson Mandela was sent to prison in 1963 on charges of trying to sabotage the nation’s government, which advocated a policy called apartheid that treated people of different races differently (Mandela advocated a democratic society in which all people would be treated equally). Mandela spent the next 27 years in prison, but after he was released in 1990, he forgave the people who had imprisoned him. Mandela later became South Africa's president and delivered speeches internationally in which he urged people to forgive each other because forgiveness is God's plan and therefore always the right thing to do.

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Pope Forgives His Would-Be Assassin:

Pope John Paul II in Spain
Gianni Ferrari / Getty Images

As the late Pope John Paul II rode past a crowd in an open car in 1981, Mehmet Ali Agca shot him four times in an assassination attempt, seriously wounding the pope. Pope John Paul II nearly died. He underwent emergency surgery at a hospital to save his life and then recovered. Two years later, the pope visited Agca in his prison cell to let Agca know that he had forgiven him. The Catholic leader clasped Agca's hands -- the same hands that had pointed a gun at him and pulled the trigger -- on his own as the two men talked, and when the pope rose to leave, Agca shook hands with him. After emerging from Agca's prison cell, the pope said that he spoke to the man who had tried to kill him "as a brother whom I have pardoned."

What About You?

The miracle of forgiveness always starts with someone who is willing to move beyond the pain of the past in faith that God will help him or her forgive and then experience freedom. You can make this miracle happen in your own life by choosing to forgive the people who have hurt you, with help from God and angels in prayer.