I’d just kissed my husband goodnight and turned toward the hallway when the phone rang. It was 11:15 p.m. on a Friday night. If the phone rings that late at night it is either a wrong number or bad news. My husband answered. It was very bad news. A coroner in central California was calling to tell us that my mother had died in a traffic accident about 5:30 p.m. that day.
I was numb. Unbelieving. It could not possibly be. We were planning to see her in less than three days. I had just spoken to her the previous day. Grief overwhelmed. Tears flowed.
One week later, we celebrated the life of a dearly beloved mother, grandma and friend at graveside service followed by a memorial service. Grief seemed endless. How to forgive? Where is hope? Where is faith amid this tragic loss?
The local Assistant District Attorney decided to press charges against a 21-year-old truck driver, the only other vehicle involved in the accident. Court delays kept pushing the trial forward, as I worked through my grief.
Fast forward two and half years. It is Holy Week. The Tuesday before Easter.
The now 23-year-old truck driver was on trial for manslaughter.
After the testimony of witnesses and experts, the jury deliberated. No other vehicles were involved in this accident, only his and hers. Was there “reasonable doubt”? What is “reasonable”? How can doubt” be measured or quantified?
The jury returned. Verdict? Acquittal. Surely, he was guilty!
It was no coincidence in my mind, that two thousand years earlier, an innocent man hung on a cross, between two convicted criminals. Because of the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we who are captives of sin, can be set free.
I was grateful for those two and half years which allowed me the time to work through my grief and move toward forgiveness. No matter the trial’s outcome that day, I had already forgiven the truck driver. Not because of my own goodness or effort, to be sure! I miss my mother to this day! But her own strong Christian faith was one that demonstrated for me how to forgive.
Forgiveness — it is a process. It is not easy. It takes time.
Forgiving sets both people free — the forgiver, and the one forgiven!
No matter the loss or hurt you have endured, holding onto it can only harm you.
There is freedom in forgiveness!
I recommend it!