I WILL FORGIVE Michael Davis
August 15, 2017
“I forgive him.” Mark Heyer
If someone murdered my daughter, I hope and pray that I’d have the courage and grace to utter those three words just days after her death to the one who murdered her. These words cut deep. They force me to examine whether I know something about grace or actually believe in grace. You see, grace is giving to someone what they do not deserve. Grace can change a life. Grace can change the world.
Where there is hate, there will be division, devastation, and destruction.
But where there is grace, there will be healing and hope.
Grace is not something that comes from us, rather it’s something that has been given to us by a gracious and generous God. To those who have received His grace, grace can begin to flow freely. And where grace flows freely, reconciliation and restoration become a reality.
Like many, my heart and head are spinning with the events that took place this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. “How can so much hatred and evil still exist within people?” “How is it possible that white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups still exist?” These are just a few questions I’m wrestling with, but what isn't lost on me is Heather Heyer. She was 32 years young. I am deeply saddened that hatred led to her death.
But in the midst of such horrific evil, grace is prevailing. In the wake of such hatred, grace is winning. I don’t know how all of this will play out in Charlottesville and in our nation, but I know how this is already playing out in one father’s heart. He chose grace, and where there is grace there is healing.
Am I angry with white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups? Absolutely! But if the father of a murdered daughter can forgive then that is the path I will chose as well.
Returning hatred with hatred only serves to perpetuate further hatred. The only way to break the cycle of hatred and racism is grace and forgiveness. Is that easy? No, but is it possible? Absolutely! As mentioned above, grace is not something that comes from us, but something offered to all of us in Jesus Christ. And to ALL who receive the grace of God in Jesus, grace can begin to flow freely.
What impact do you think 2.2 billion Christians might begin to have on the racial divide in the world if we all chose the path of grace and forgiveness? Are there consequences for evil, hatred, and racism? Yes. Those who commit crimes of hate and terrorism should be punished. But if we want to see healing from the devastation caused by hate, we must choose the path of grace.
Hating those who hate is not helpful, it’s actually destructive.
Hating those who have been silent is not helpful, it’s actually destructive.
Hating those who disagree with you and how you think about this is not helpful, it’s actually destructive.
Even still, grace is not only helpful, it is healing.
The words that I will remember from the tragedy in Charlottesville were not uttered by hate groups, and they will not be the many words spilled via social media over the past few days. The words I will remember are the words uttered by Mark Meyer, the heartbroken father of Heather Meyer who tragically died on Saturday, August 12th. The three words that will change the trajectory of a broken world are “I forgive him.”
These words were not uttered first by Mark Heyer, rather, they were first spoken by Jesus on the cross towards a group of people who had hate in their heart towards Him. He met hate with grace. Might we begin to do the same.