|Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt)|
Mary Johnson, mother of an only son, somehow found it within her heart to forgive his murderer, Oshea Israel.
Rebecca Ruiz of TODAY reports that Mary not only forgave Oshea, but even took him under her wing after he was released from prison. Johnson and Israel now live next door to one another, and she refers to him as her "spiritual son." He, in turn, refers to her as his "second mom."
Johnson even founded an organization called "From Death to Life," which is dedicated to sharing "hope with families impacted by homicide…" Group members "make the healing groups available, provide care baskets for families immediately following a tragedy, and host community events promoting peace and reconciliation."
Although forgiveness may seem like a gift to the recipient, it is primarily a gift to the one who forgives. Mary explained to Ruiz
that she forgave Oshea in order to "free herself of suffering." She stated: All that stuff had to leave me. And the day I went to prison [to begin reconciling with Oshea], I was delivered.
Copyright September 21, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved