Can You Forgive the Dark Knight Gunman?

As I heard the shocking news out of Aurora, Colorado today where a gunman killed twelve movie goers watching the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises my heart bled. What an appalling tragedy. Is it even possible to forgive such a horrific crime?

I’ve faced my own share of tragedy. My youngest son Jake died in a tragic car wreck in 1998 when my ex-husband was driving under the influence of narcotics. Forgiveness is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the only one keeps us free of the toxicity of bitterness. Still, we have to get to a place where the effects of bitterness are greater than the pain of releasing the offense.

My heart goes out to the victims of this horrible massacre. I know the grief and shock of the crime may cause many to postpone forgiveness, but I pray the families and loved ones will not allow the pain of the tragedy to take their own life as well. I know people who’ve carried unforgiveness for a lifetime, but it’s a poison that only destroys our own soul.

There are so many misconceptions about forgiveness. We don’t forgive to release the offender. We forgive to set ourselves free. Forgiveness doesn’t mean the other’s actions were acceptable, nor does it release the offender from the consequences of their actions or the legal obligation for restitution. We forgive out of obedience to God and so that the prison of bitterness doesn’t destroy our lives as well. We don’t need forgiveness if we’ve never suffered an offense, but when we accept God’s grace to forgive, he sets us free. The only one who belongs in prison is the gunman.

Do you need more help with forgiveness in your own life? Click below for your free copy of How to Forgive When Life Hurts.

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2 Responses to Can You Forgive the Dark Knight Gunman?

  1. Christy Johnson July 21, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Saw this on Diane Sawyer’s program. Powerful. The brave 19 year-old young man, Jerelle Brooks, that took a bullet in the leg helping rescue a mother and her children escape the theatre said this:

    “I don’t hate the man who shot me. I feel like forgiveness is more bold than hate and revenge.” The forgiveness he found for the man who shot him is incredible.

  2. Daniela October 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    You are correct that ‘letting go’ is not easy, in fact it is the most dficifult, yet necessary thing to do when you have been ‘offended’. It is the only way to life a life free of emotional bondage.I have been ‘offended’ in ways that I am most certain that you could never imagine, and I was determined for many years not to ‘let go'(forgive). I wanted to punish my ‘offenders’ and was afraid that my forgiveness would condone their vile acts.I have learned, through much suffering, that the only way to move forward was to ‘let go’ of the emotional ties that were keeping me from living my life to its happiest potential. I have never condoned, nor will I ever forget these vile acts, but they do not have power over me anymore.’Letting go’ is the ONLY way:)P.S. I did not learn this through any religion that I studied, but through the help of some very wise, and loving people that are in my life:)

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