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Dale Lang Addresses Forgiveness
Knowing who you are in Christ brings hope. A psychologist offers steps to equip us in the battle against forces that contribute to depression.

On April 28, 1999, Reverend Dale Lang’s world changed forever. Time was suspended as he listened to the person calling from the hospital in Taber, Alberta, telling him, “Your son Jason is in emergency. You need to come right now.” Upon arriving at the hospital, he heard the words, “Jason has been shot,” and then, “Jason didn’t make it.”

“…I still don’t know how I did it…”

Only five days later, on national television, Lang, then a minister at St. Theodore’s Anglican Church in the quiet Southern Alberta community, made a public statement to the 14-year-old who had murdered his son in a copycat Columbine-style shooting at Taber’s W.R. Myers High School.

“I forgave the young man who murdered our son, and I still don’t know how I did it,” Lang stated.

Since making that statement, Lang has found himself at speaking engagements all across the nation, addressing hundreds of high school students, appearing on national news and TV talk shows, finally to host his own TV show, On The Edge, on the Miracle Channel.

Lang recently spoke at Forgiveness Matters, a workshop sponsored by Calgary-based Bridges of Love Ministry. He elaborated on his journey, from forgiveness to learning to live in peace with the loss of his son.

“It’s not about practicing forgiveness, it’s about living in that relationship with Jesus Christ – that’s where forgiveness can flow out of us,” Lang noted. Although he is very clear about the fact that forgiveness, for him, was a choice – an almost instant and complete act – he is just as clear about the reality that the pain will always remain. “I have just gotten more used to living with the pain of losing my son.”

“I don’t want to be a person who is always trying to forgive. My job isn’t to forgive people who hurt me. My job is to know Jesus Christ…to surrender my will,” Lang emphasized, stressing that “God is not impressed with our efforts. It is when we can surrender our self to Him.”

Les Stahlke, also a presenter at the event, spoke on issues of governance, forgiveness, and reconciliation, pointing out that, “Forgiveness does not automatically result in reconciliation.”

“Forgiving does not necessarily mean forgetting. Forgiveness decides to absorb what can’t be repaid. Forgiveness means loving when the relationship is in negative standing,” Stahlke stated. Justice and repentance are required steps to completing reconciliation.

Bridges of Love Ministry has officially acquired status as a valid, recognized charity.  The Ministry, founded by Marg Pollon, seeks to implement the Great Commission as described in Matthew 28:18-20 and the Great Commandment recorded in Matthew 22:39. It is about bridging the gap between church and community through outreach – incorporating a focus of Christ-like behaviour toward others.

“Christians acting more Christ-like is what we need..." said Pollon. “Bridge-building can take so many forms; forgiveness is one.”

Originally published in City Light News, December 2007. 

Used with permission. Copyright © 2007 Christianity.ca.

 

 
 
 
 

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