If you're not local, you may not have heard what happened nearby last night.
To summarize, a 23 year old man got into an argument with his grandmother and aunt, resulting in him stabbing his 69 year old grandmother 'so many times he lost count' while she bathed in the tub.
It's truly a heartbreaking story, but woven into this sad tale is a thread of beauty. As he was brutally murdering his grandmother by thrusting duel-wielded kitchen knives into her body, she uttered the last phrase that would ever leave her lips to her killer- "I love you".
Her ultimate act of forgiveness was an act that would save lives. Unbeknownst to her, he had intended to go kill the entire rest of his family next, just a few doors down. Upon hearing her final words, he was filled with remorse for his actions. The young man fell to his knees over her body, weeping. He then called the police and turned himself in, leaving the remainder of his intended victims unharmed.
The power of love is so strong that it can overcome any anger or hatred that exists. It may have been too late for her to save her own life, but even in the throes of the death, her selfless love calmed the sea of anger that this young man was drowning in, ultimately saving the lives of the rest of her family.
I think the moral of this story is that even when our rage is justified, even when the unforgivable takes place, the path from which peace blooms is still forgiveness. Feeding into the rage just gives the negativity strength; no amount of flames will quell a fire.
Sometimes our forgiveness will be taken for granted, and some people will abuse forgiveness... but this story felt to me like a lesson about Luke 11:4. I know that God forgives my many mistakes graciously, eager to continue to love me with an unmarred view; and in receiving such divine, perfect forgiveness, who am I to rightfully hold a grudge against another of His creations? His grandmother showed faith in action - and because of that faith, her family was spared her terrible fate.
"People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God- it was never between you and them anyway."
R.I.P. Barbara Denmark