Saturday, February 9, 2013


I had literally just gotten off the phone from my brother Dave when he called me with the news that Mom & Dad had been murdered in their home when the thought struck me, "This is going to be quite a lesson in forgiveness". That thought has continued to enter my mind on occasion in the nearly two years since that fateful day but it has consumed me since last Tuesday when faced with the identity (and picture) of the young man who confessed to participating in their stabbing deaths.

Looking into the picture of that young man it struck me that he is so young. Yes, Mom & Dad died a brutal, unjust death but at least they lived to be 79 in good health and with each other. Now they have gone to heaven together. This young man, Jose, is a mere 25 years old - in the prime of his life.  He most likely will face execution or life in prison without the possibility of parole. When I was 25 I had finished college, been married for 5 years, had a 1 year old son (who is now 31) and gave birth to my first daughter. Even now in my fifties, I feel I have a lot of time ahead of me. So much to do. What does Jose have to look forward to?

I felt compelled to look him up on a website that the Missouri Department of Corrections has. It seems that Jose has had anger issues for some time. He was the subject of several orders of protection including a child order of protection. As a matter of fact a warrant was issued for his arrest on April 3, 2011 due to a failure to appear in court. He has been incarcerated for nearly 2 years now on other charges. This was not his first offense. How can I forgive someone like that?

How can I not? Hallelujah, Jesus has forgiven me my many sins (and, yes, they ARE many!).  Consider Jesus' words in Matthew:

Matthew 6:14-15 (The Message)
 “In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

I certainly do not want to be cut off from God's forgiveness! Jose has not asked me to forgive him and he may not care if I forgive him, but forgive I must, whether he wants it or not.  Whether he is sorry or not. Neither matters. What matters is that I forgive him. If I do not I will begin to harbor bitterness and hatred. I will begin to think that I am better than him. Jesus died for me and my sins. Jesus died for Jose and his sins. No difference.

Psalm 130:1-2 (The Message)

Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
    Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
    Listen to my cries for mercy.

If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
    who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
    and that’s why you’re worshiped.

Thank you, Lord, my sins are forgiven! My guilt is washed away by the blood of the perfect Lamb! Worship the Lord who has forgiven me when I least deserved it!

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