He forgave her! She went into the wrong apartment and fatally shot his brother. Her sentence was seemingly light for murder—10 years. Prosecution was asking for 28, the age of the victim. The closing comments of the victim’s brother were words of forgiveness. “I don’t hold anything against you.” “I want the best for you.” “The best for you would be to give your life to Christ.” “That’s what my brother would want.” “I love you as a person.” They hugged and forgiveness was given. It is being written about all over the world. An amazing example of forgiveness from an 18 year old. A lesson that was given in the name of Christ.
How does one get to that point? He took the lead on the process of healing by extending forgiveness. Something that had been so explosive has been disarmed by love and forgiveness. This same event could have destroyed the families involved emotionally for the rest of their lives. Harboring anger, vengeance, guilt and shame will destroy a soul. Satan would like nothing more than this to be a destructive and faith-ending event. However, this young man’s act paved a way for that to change. It will never undo what has been done, but it can help in the healing process and the damage does not have to continue. Love conquered and made it okay for others to forgive as well.
It is hard to read about this and watch the videos and not think, “Could I do that?” We would like to think that we would be able to forgive with the grace and love that this young man demonstrated. Hopefully we will never have to be in that position. The question that we should be asking is not, “Could I do that in an extreme situation?” The question we should ask is, “Am I forgiving people for the little and daily things?” We don’t show up to any athletic event without having practiced and trained. It should be obvious that this young man had learned to forgive others before this event.
Our capacity to forgive is directly tied to our salvation. “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions” (Matt. 6:14-15). “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions” (Mark 11:25). Forgiveness might be something we don’t give out easily, but oh, how we want it when we have offended. We clamor and plead for forgiveness from God, yet we might not be prepared to extend the level of forgiveness we have received. This bright moment that is shining out of a dark situation should call us to remember what has been forgiven of us and the capacity of forgiveness that is possible.