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Yui Mok/PA Wire
UK News

Forgiveness is liberating: Christian captive Terry Waite reflects on life at 80

Serving as the Archbishop of Canterbury's special envoy, Terry Waite was held in captivity for nearly five years whilst trying to free western hostages in Lebanon.

He was kept hostage from 1987-1991.

Reflecting on his time in captivity, Mr Waite told Premier his faith gave him the strength to persevere: "I could say in the face of my captors, you have the power to break my body and you've tried, the power to bend my mind and you've tried but my soul isn't yours to possess."

He shared how his trials taught him how to love the poor: "I've always had sympathy for people who are on the margins of life. But that sympathy in captivity was changed into empathy.

"Being there equipped me to be able to do more and understand more of the situation that many people in this world find themselves in."

Mr Waite, who was kept mainly in solitary confinement during his captivity, revisited the country several years after his release in 1991, to offer his forgiveness to Hezzbollah - the organisation believed to have been behind his kidnapping.

He said he's learnt the importance of seeking reconciliation through times of division: "You don't have to agree with what people do, to be able to forgive.
"If you can't forgive it restricts your own future. Forgiveness is liberating."

Earlier this year the Lebanese Embassy held a reception in honour of Terry Waite and his humanitarian efforts.

As he celebrates his 80th birthday, Terry seems to have no intention of slowing down and plans to return to Beirut later this year to continue to work on peace building efforts.

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