Forgiveness and Reconciliation
“The man I ate dinner with tonight killed my brother.” The words, spoken by a stylish woman at a PF banquet in Seattle, amazed me. She told how John H. had murdered her brother during a robbery, served 18 years at Walla Walla, then settled into life on a dairy farm, where she had met him in 1983, 20 years after his crime. Compelled by Christs command to forgive, Ruth Youngsman had gone to her enemy and pronounced forgiveness. Then she had taken him to her fathers deathbed, prompting reconciliation.
Some wouldnt call this a success story: John didnt dedicate his life to Christ. But at that PF banquet last fall, his voice cracked as he said, “Christians are the only people I know that you can kill their son, and theyll make you a part of their family. I dont know the Man Upstairs, but He sure is hounding me.”
Johns story is unfinished; he hasnt yet accepted Christ. But just as Christ died for us regardless of our actions or acceptance, so Ruth forgave him without qualification. Even more so, she became his friend.