I celebrated East Timor Independence Day with the local community from that country here in Darwin this week.
So many of those present had suffered greatly during the lead-up to independence.
Many had loved ones murdered or brutally hurt during the times of violence.
One of those present shared with me how one of their leaders of East Timor had given her a great example.
He had spent time in an Indonesian prison. He had suffered a lot. After the war, he gave a great example of forgiveness. She was in a place where people from different factions who had fought each other were present. She felt very reluctant to shake hands with those who had hurt her family.
This particular leader realised what was going on and reminded her of forgiveness and how she needed to forgive those who had hurt her so much.
Nelson Mandela in South Africa was another example of those who were able to help bring about reconciliation.
There are also outstanding men and women survivors of Nazi concentration camps who made it possible for themselves to forgive those who had killed their families.
Jesus died forgiving those who killed him.
Of course, it can be very hard to forgive.
Yet if we forgive, we are free. When we do not, we carry a burden!