I tried that. But the effort nearly drained me.
The George Zimmerman trial stirred vivid memories of our own trial—the prosecution of the man who killed our 19 year-old-son 10 years ago here in Florida. The man who stabbed him 23 times plead self-defense and the verdict read: not guilty on all counts.
The rage, the injustice and the protest that has been dominating the media stirred memories. But more importantly, the details remind us of the decision my husband and I made back then. The choice to forgive the killer.
The process wasn’t easy, nor the task simple. We chose to forgive because God had instructed us to do so. Were we such good Christians that we would obey? Not really. But we were desperate to be set free from emotions of anger or resentment that could’ve held us prisoners.
God said to forgive. But He also said without Him we can do nothing. He said not seek vengeance. But He also said vengeance belongs to Him. He said to find joy in Him. But He also said to have a heart free of malice.
We found the peace that goes beyond all understanding. We learned first-hand the freedom that forgiveness brings. We found that tragedy happens, evil abounds, but triumph through the power of God is possible.
Writing about this episode is not easy. But the price Jesus paid for murderers wasn’t easy either.
Media hosts have asked me during interviews: What words would you say to the mother of a victim to murder?
I would say three things:
- Seek God’s help for the grieving process. Although it’s impossible to overcome the pain without His help, the journey is different for everyone.
- Be careful to choose what fills your mind. The mentality of a victim never reaches victory.
- Honor your child’s life by turning this painful episode to a powerful message. I suggest inviting those who have a high profile and are outspoken folks to use that same energy, passion and efforts to teach, to encourage and show young people of ALL ages the evil of violence and the value of self-control.
For this writing, my hat as a writer was put aside to wear the one of a Mom who tasted heartache and devastation turned to the divine gift of freedom that forgiveness brings.
(The full story is included in Janet’s #1 best-selling book Simply
Salsa: Dancing Without Fear at God’s Fiesta www.inspirationforyou.com).