Fair and Forgiveness

“When I was a kid, my mom was murdered by a serial killer.”

Week one of my teaching career, Two Truths and a Lie.
I searched my mind for the right thing to say. You can’t lie about something like that!
But then he followed with, “No, really. The killer went to this school.”
And I remembered the headlines. I remembered the stories.

His mother had been killed by a serial killer who had graduated from this school, and this child was using the fact in a game I’d planned as an icebreaker.

Years later the young man had the chance to witness the execution of his mother’s killer. He thought it would bring closure. He said all it brought was sadness.

Sometimes, I think there are things that should be unforgivable.
But then I weigh the things I’ve done, and I realize, no way do I want God to hold my sins against me. If He weighed our sins, how would it work? Would I be judged against my grandma? Well, Mary Beth, I’d like to forgive you, but you don’t measure up to Mary Ella. Or would I get a ringer: Come on in, Mary Beth. You beat Al Capone without even trying.

I read once that forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for you. Without it you can’t go on, move forward. I’ve seen people destroyed because they can’t move forward. The past crushes them. It doesn’t have to be that way. When we forgive, God gives us peace. The same peace He gives us when He forgives us.

Not too long ago our area was consumed with the murder of a cheerleader. The story had all the salaciousness of a Lifetime movie. The girl was beautiful, she’d snuck out to be with friends. Turned out the girl had been murdered by three of those “friends.” One was her ex-boyfriend. He was prom king to her prom queen, football player to her cheerleader, beautiful, just like her. Only not. The thing that stood out to me about the story wasn’t this, though. It was that the girl’s mother forgave the boy in court. She wasn’t saying he didn’t deserve punishment, but she found a way to forgive him for what he’d done. That forgiveness gave her peace that had alluded her from the time they’d found her daughter’s body.

In Honor and Lies, Sissy doesn’t forgive on the page. I couldn’t write the words even though I realized that lack of forgiveness would lead to a constant search for peace that could never be. At the time I wrote the novel, I was still fighting with the idea that God forgave everything, even the very worst sins. It didn’t seem fair.
Thank GOD He doesn’t work on FAIR.

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