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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mamie Norwood: Husband's murderer forgiven

Gospel of Mark (14th century)
In a dramatic display of Christian forgiveness, Mamie Norwood is urging the Pennsylvania powers that be to refrain from executing Terrance Williams, her late husband's murderer.

Her written statement, which was recently included in a clemency petititon that was sent to Governor Corbett and the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, explains the following:  I was angry and resentful towards Mr. Williams for many years…  I knew I had to find a way to heal and live a peaceful and happy life.  I realized that the only way I could do that was to forgive Terry Williams for what he did.

She continues:  Several years ago, after much prayer and self-reflection, I found the strength and courage to forgive Terry Williams.  I do not wish to see Terry Williams executed.  His execution would go against my Christian faith and my belief system.

Because many professed Christians might outright disagree with Norwood's decision and faith statement,
it seems important to review these Gospel quotes about forgivenessSo if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go.  First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24)  And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)  Do not judge, and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)  And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven, if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:22-23)

The Gospels are not always completely in sync with one another.  However, these four Gospel messages echo one powerful truth – that radical forgiveness is an essential component of Christianity.


Copyright September 8, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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