The Grace of Forgiveness

From Jeanne Bishop:

I had never prayed for the person who killed my loved ones; I had never even uttered his name.

I say it now: David Biro. I began praying for him in the only place I could: the garden where Nancy and Richard and their baby are buried. I dropped to my knees and asked God for something I never could have imagined, that Nancy’s killer get well enough to get out someday.

I don’t know that he will; he is not there yet.  But I do know that no one, including him, is beyond the forgiveness and redemption and purpose of God.

My two young sons taught me that. We were talking about loving your neighbor as yourself.  Stephen asked, “What about the person who killed Aunt Nancy?”

Brendan replied, “We can’t love what he did. But we have to love him, because God made him for a purpose.”

Brendan is right. God made each of the juveniles serving life sentences for a purpose.  I can no longer support a sentence that says never.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Steve Sherwood

    I have been reading Simon Wiesenthal’s harrowing book, “The Sunflower.” At the end, dozens of well known people, from many faiths, respond to the question of can/should a survivor of the holocaust forgive a Nazi who took part and asks for forgiveness. To me, it is disturbing that a large majority answer, NO.

    I easily understand the profound difficulty such forgiveness would entail, and would never feel it would be my place to say to another, “you should,” but I think the ability to forgive great wrong is both healing to the forgiver and brings one closer to the heart of God. I do not believe retribution brings the relief, satisfaction and healing it promises.


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