Love From Forgiving

My Daughter Tonya, her two children, Megan and Tyler and myself left Sunday morning at 7:20AM from my home in Utica, Ohio to go to South Carolina.

We were going to witness the sentencing of a man who had a little over a year before driven through a red light and hit the car that Megan and Tyler’s Daddy and step Mother were driving killing both occupants instantly.  The man who hit them was under the influence of alcohol at the time and this made it more difficult for the kids to accept.

The kids and I had talked about it whenever they wanted to in the past year and I would try to explain why things like that happen (I had no explanation) other than the man is an alcoholic and he can’t always resist taking a drink.  He had a sickness and I could identify with him because I too am an alcoholic.  I explained to them that more often than not he hated himself for the addiction and went through his own personal hell with it.  They understood that but still didn’t understand why people have to die because of it.  That led to us all having free will and making bad decisions.   The man made a bad decision.

At times the kids just needed to be heard and not talked to or maybe just be held and nobody say anything.

I had been talking to them about forgiveness in the past year and was certain that my grandson Tyler was ready to forgive the man who had ruined his life.   I wasn’t sure where my granddaughter Megan stood on the situation.

There was no trial because the man was big enough to admit his guilt and was willing to take whatever punishment the court and even the family wanted for him to have.  For me and even my grandchildren this made it harder to see this mans life ruined.   He too had been through a lot in his life.  He had been abused by his Mother as a child (she did get counseling for that and it got better).  They were originally from New York and this man at the age of 18 had also been in a terrible accident.  He was hit by a semi and it left him with a lot of brain damage and had caused a lot of damage to his spine.  He had only partial use of his right side.  This was all presented by the defense while we sat there.  I could see my two Grandchildren wiping their eyes from time to time.  Megan was getting a soft spot in her heart for this man.

This man finally got to speak to the court and the family.  What he said touched my heart as well as my daughters and our babies.   He told the judge that at the time of the accident he just wanted to get home.  This rang a bell with me and I will go in to that later.  It was heart warming to see a 30 year old man stand and take whatever the people wanted to give him.  To me this shows more responsibility than any body else in that court room had myself included.  He turned and looked directly at the family and told them how sorry he was for what he had done.  He said that if it were possible to turn back time to before the accident and his mistake that he would do it.  He told them that if he could bring them back and take their place that he would do that too.  I believed him.  He returned to his seat where he sat with his head down and never looked up.

Next the family got to speak.  Most hated him for what he had done and even hated his family.  My grandchildren’s older brother, from a previous marriage, was first to address the man.  He told him that he couldn’t drive a car now because of what had happened and that he would not own one.  He did tell the man that he forgave him.  The man thanked him.  Next was my grandson Tyler.  He told of how his Daddy would call him on his birthday and at Christmas time.  He said there wouldn’t be any more calls like that.  He too told the man that he forgives him.  The man looked up at him and started crying and thanked him.  My granddaughter chose not to speak.  Other’s should not have said anything but it was their right.

After everybody had said what they had to say the Judge sentenced this poor man to 13 years in the penitentiary.  He stood and took it like a man and appeared to be more than willing to do the time.

After the sentencing the media with their camera’s surrounded the family.  They approached my Grandson Tyler and I took him away.  They weren’t making him part of their circus.  They did get to my Granddaughter before I could take her away.  They asked her if she hates the man and she very seriously told them no.  They didn’t want to hear that and moved on looking for some one who did hate him.  They didn’t have to look long.

I thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for my family.  My daughter has been a pillar to the children through all of this.  They have been a blessing to us all for how they have forgiven and what they have taught us.  They aren’t hurting now in the way that others are because they have forgiven.  They will remember and even cry at times but they will always be able to ask forgiveness from our Lord Jesus because they too forgave.

All the way home my daughter and I talked about this man and his life.  We believe that he is a victim too.  There is so much more I could go in to and show that he is the victim as well but this has been dragged out too far now.

As I said above I am thankful to my Lord that He has given me the family that He did.  I can watch, with pride, my grandchildren grow in to adulthood knowing that they will be a light to others.  They love the Lord and give Him thanks for the loved ones in their life.  They still don’t understand why this all happened but they can accept it and know that Jesus understands it.  They are content with His wisdom in the matter and trust Him to make it all right in His time.

I work with men who, many of them, have the same or similar conditions that this man has.  I understood what he meant when he said he just wanted to get home.  The lights and sirens scared him and put him in a sense of urgency.  He was not fleeing the police officers he was scared and wanted to get home to his safe place.  He was just scared and knew that home would keep him safe.  He would be more than willing to answer to the police where he was safe but he was afraid when he was away from home.  That is a frightening feeling to any one who has this man’s disability.  I thank my God that I am in a position to understand this.  I cried with the children during this sentencing and was not ashamed.  We were finally crying for this man who is also a victim and not crying about the act that took their Daddy away from them.

Oh Father God if there is any one else going through what my grandchildren have gone through I ask in Jesus name that You give them the peace and love that You gave my babies.  Teach them to forgive so that they too can move on.  Father we as Christians know that hatred will make us just as dead inside as an accident will.  Thank You for Your love and faithfulness to us.  Thank You that You are always there with us taking us through anything that comes against us.  Father you took this tragedy and blessed my grandchildren with it.  You taught them to forgive and to love the one they forgive.  I praise You for this.  In Jesus precious name, Amen and Amen.
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