The question, "How did we get here" gets asked more times than we could count, at some of the most challenging times but often at a time when we as the victim are not always ready to forgive. Over my life time there have been many people that I had refused to forgive for a variety of reasons. However, my personal test of forgiveness came in 2015 after losing my son and daughter to gun violence at the hands of a young man I had grown to love over the years. Because he was my son in law, the father of 2 of my grandchildren, my daughter’s friend, lover and husband. He was also a murderer. As I stood in front of a camera with the news reporter asking me “Did you know why he killed them?” I remember all the teaching I had heard in my lifetime about FORGIVENESS and I could say was what I believe this young man felt at the time when he changed my life and that was that I still loved him and I forgave him.
I genuinely did forgive him (don’t get me wrong, in that moment I hated everything about want he had done to me and my family). But something in my spirit would not permit me to feel rage or even anger, yet there was pain in my heart that I still cannot fill. For the next couple of days, I kept asking God “Why am I not reacting with more anger? Why am I unable to destroy something, curse out someone or simply just be mad? Why God?” He simply answered, “Because their deaths were necessary to bring about change.”
In that conversation with God I learned why forgiveness is necessary. As far back as I can remember someone as always said, “forgiveness is not for them, but for you.” After that I simply exhaled. I’ve had to do a lot of exhaling, be patient, listening more, become a student of Life again and forgive people that I plan on staying mad with until I died. I watched a movie recently for the 1st time - Collateral Beauty with actor Will Smith as I laid in my bed watching the 3 different angels characters visit him I realized that we do not have the ability to control when LOVE, TIME & DEATH will visit us but we do have the ability to choose how we respond to LOVE, TIME, & DEATH entering our lives. Because all 3 of them visit us all either individually or in my case all at the same time. How will you respond?