On June 7, Robert and his companion were riding with a woman from church that had volunteered to pick them up for a dinner appointment. In a flash, a drunk driver swerved across six lanes of traffic and struck their vehicle. The woman, a mother of eight, was killed. So, too, was Robert.
I wept for days.
When I close my eyes after 22 years, I can call up the memories quickly, like a mental web search. I see myself carrying a casket too heavy and too soon. I see his three sisters wiping the tears of others and his parents giving more comfort than they received.
Back in Arizona, the driver was arrested, charged, tried and sentenced to three years in prison. He was released after 18 months.
Could you forgive your son’s killer? Bob and Vonda Snow did.
With the same energy that many of us might use to fuel hatred or revenge, the Snow family forgave. They said there was no other option.
Their rationale is divine: “I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (Doctrine and Covenants 64:10).
Make no mistake: the Snow family is imperfect, like the rest of us. They still grieve and they still struggle with life's long journey home. But they do it with forgiving hearts, and that makes the baggage much lighter.
What a blessing that the Lord put these people in my life. When the scriptures, prayer or personal revelation haven't been enough, he’s placed people like the Snows in my path as living, breathing examples of how it’s done.
At times like this, when I'm fighting to forgive others for things less dire, I wish I’d recognized earlier and more often those invaluable life lessons. If good souls like the Snows can forgive those who kill, can’t I forgive those who lie, offend or steal?
Perhaps it’s time to do more than sink that trash to the bottom. Maybe the time’s come to throw it away, for good.
Jason F. Wright is a New York Times best-selling author of eight books, including "Christmas Jars," "The Wednesday Letters" and "The Wedding Letters." He can be reached at email@example.com or www.jasonfwright.com.
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