I read a book recently called Forgiving My Daughter’s Killer. The title says it all. It is the true story of a family who forgave the young man who killed their daughter. He was her fiancé and he shot her during a quarrel. Her parents not only forgave him, they participated in process called restorative justice. I had never heard of this before, but basically rather than a trial, where the defendant is discouraged from even acknowledging any wrong doing and the victims get no opportunity to understand what truly happened, there is a meeting at which open dialogue between everyone involved is allowed. The victims are able to make their feelings known and recommend a sentence; the person who committed the crime is given an opportunity to make restitution. In Conor’s case this process led to a shorter sentence (20 years rather than 25-life) and he and his fiancé’s parents were able to talk honestly about the events that led up to the shooting. Although there can be no true restitution for the loss of a loved one, he also agreed to volunteering and supporting St. Francis Wildlife Association, which was a cause dear to the heart of the victim. They continue to visit him.
Kate Grosmaire, the mother who wrote the book, says:
“Forgiveness is not the first instinct, nor is it an easy path. It’s a decision that says you believe the Bible when it says that vengeance belongs to God.”
She also admits that forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation. It is not saying “Yes, you may hurt me again.” It does not require ignoring the offense. It is not a pardon. However she says forgiveness is “a refuge: a place where broken people can come for healing, where the guilty can come for relief, where the wronged can come for hope…. (it) is a process, a way of life.”
I really recommend this book. Let us know if you read it and what you think.