Why Should I Forgive?

My life changed one summer evening, on August 16, 1992. I had gone fishing with my family, including my youngest brother Josh, two days before. My parents left that day for a weekend vacation to Salt Lake City. Josh and our cousin Gage were staying together in my parents’ home. I was supposed to watch them to make sure nothing happened to them. Josh, Gage, and their friend Andrew Wolford went to the local convenience store for some treats and a pop. When they were walking into the store, a young man and his friend were sitting in their pickup truck watching them. They didn’t know my brother, but one of the young men had a gun. He told his friend, “I could kill that kid.” He aimed his gun and shot my brother in the head.

I was awakened that night by pounding on my front door. It was my niece, and she said that my brother had been shot and they were transporting him by helicopter to Idaho Falls. I raced to the helicopter pad and saw my brother being loaded into the helicopter. I rushed to the hospital twenty-five miles away. I held my little brother’s hand later that night after the surgery as he was dying. I wept and let go of his hand as he died.

The police said that the young man that killed my brother was drunk and didn’t know what he was doing. He was a son of a very rich and connected person in our community. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, found guilty and sent to drug rehab for six months, then released on probation. I was angry that my brother’s life wasn’t considered worth jail time. To me the police seemed to be on the killer’s side. The prosecutor wouldn’t even hardly talk to my family, and was next door neighbors to the killer. It didn’t seem fair. The police chief told us that boys will be boys.

Hatred grew in my heart. I hated the young man that killed my brother, and I hated that people that I thought helped him get away with murder. For a few months this hatred consumed my life, and then I realize that it was destroying me. I knew that I must forgive and that I was becoming somebody that wasn’t the person I need to be. I prayed to God for forgiveness and to help me love this young man that killed my brother. The tragedy wasn’t my brother dying, but the young man that killed my brother. I realized that for the Savior to forgive me, I must forgive that young man. Christ could forgive the Roman soldiers as they were killing him, and he would forgive me of my sins. He would forgive this young man, and so I did. A great weight was taken off of my shoulders, and I felt love in my heart again.

Since that time, I have thought when people make me mad that if I could forgive this young man that killed my brother, then I can forgive anyone. I can now say that I hate no man. Sometimes the worst things in your life are the best things for you, because they teach you the most important things of life. One of them is forgiveness.

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3 thoughts on “Why Should I Forgive?

  1. Diana Cote says:

    I don’t think that the killer should have gotten away with a deliberate murder…it will be on his conscience forever, if he has one and his potential for murder may come up again. He is a danger to society because he essentially got away with a senseless killing. That statement, “boys will be boys” does not excuse him as other boys would not do such a thing and they know right from wrong. Murdering another person is a sin against God and mankind. God is love and one of the commandments is “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. Shooting and killing others is wrong…totally. It seems like the killer has no remorse either…sad. Sorry for the loss of your beloved brother…he is safe in God’s hands now.

  2. astapley says:

    This breaks my heart to read! How frustrating. Doesn’t feel like justice was served, especially as a woman was sent to prison for 20 years just for shooting a warning shot near her abusive husband, and yet this man killed your brother. But I’m so happy that you were able to forgive!

  3. Julene Evans says:

    When this happened, I had heard a lot of the facts, I felt such a great sorrow for your family, but our trials do help us to learn and grow. Ten years ago I met Ed’s children, it was awful and years of negativity, I was so intimidated by them. But hearts softened, including ours and the best thing that happened to me was not letting others own my comfort when we get together. I so enjoy his family now and love them, but many hearts had to change.

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