Journal Entry: John Dalaly-11/03/2023-Forgiveness

Journal Entry

The Importance of Forgiveness in My Life as a Chaldean Christian from Baghdad

As a Chaldean Catholic from Baghdad, Iraq, I have learned the importance of forgiveness from a young age. This virtue helps me as I prepare for this journey into America’s prison system. I am responsible for the errors in judgment that put me into this predicament. I have struggled somewhat, knowing that my crime led will cause the people I love to suffer.

To grow through this crisis and emerge from it stronger, I must forgive myself for the troubles I have caused to the people I love. I do not help them with self-pity or despondency. They must see me as being strong, as living with purpose.

In my culture, forgiveness is seen as a virtue and a sign of strength. It is also a way to honor God.
The Bible teaches us that forgiveness is not about condoning the other person’s behavior, but rather it is about letting go of the anger and resentment that can potentially bury us into clouds of darkness.
Forgiveness is important for a number of reasons. First, it is good for our own mental and emotional health. When we hold on to anger and resentment, it can weigh us down and make it difficult to enjoy our lives. But when we forgive, we are able to let go of that negative energy and move on.

Second, forgiveness is important for our relationships. When we forgive someone, we are able to repair and rebuild our relationship with them. This is important because relationships are essential to our well-being.

Finally, forgiveness is important because it is a reflection of the character of God. God is a forgiving God, and He calls us to forgive others as well. When we forgive, we are showing the world that we are followers of Christ.

I have experienced the benefits of forgiveness firsthand. Let me give you an example.
As a young man, while still in my 20s, I made friends with Ayman. When we became friends, I only knew him as a good person, an honest person. Over a few years, our friendship grew, without my ever knowing of his status. Later, I learned that Aymen belonged to the Saudi Royal Family. He opened an opportunity for me to become a purchasing agent for him. With his support, I learned to launch an export business. Through those responsibilities, I learned many valuable lessons.

Through that work, I traveled frequently. By learning more, I found other ways to serve in Middle Eastern countries. Unlike the United States, people in those countries did not have access to urgent care services. I seized an opportunity to “invent” a new industry. I started to create mobile medical centers. This job required that I open a factory, negotiate with manufacturers, and prepare vehicles for export to the Middle East. If people could not go to the doctor, I intended to bring the doctor to them.

In my view, this venture proved to be hugely successful. I became the largest exporter of ambulances. We created hundreds of jobs, and paid millions in taxes. I considered our venture a great contribution to the US economy.

Then, unions began to give me problems. When I endeavored to explain the problem, they responded with litigation and other practices that decimated my business. I went from a net worth in excess of $10 million to zero; our family home went into foreclosure.

Yet instead of anger, I had peace. I forgave those who hurt me. And with that forgiveness, I let go of any bitterness. Instead, I felt peace.

And what happened next? My dear friend Ayman came to visit me. He said, “I am here to help.”
Because God blessed me with the virtue of forgiveness, I have to recognize that regardless of how hard a person falls, he can always bounce back.

I am grateful to God for teaching me the importance of forgiveness. It has helped me to heal from the hurts of my past and to live a more joyful and fulfilling life. I am also grateful to my Chaldean heritage, which emphasizes the importance of forgiveness.

I believe that forgiveness is especially important in our world today, where there is so much division and conflict. When we forgive others, we are helping to build a more peaceful and loving world. I encourage everyone to practice forgiveness, not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the world.

John Dalaly