Tuesday, June 23, 2009


When I picked up the Star-Tribune this morning, I saw a picture on the front page of a red-faced man holding a Bible at a sentencing hearing. My immediate thought was this man was using the Bible as a club. I thought I would read a story of a victim’s family spewing justifiable anger at a person who committed a terrible crime.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I encourage everyone to read this story. The on-line Star Tribune version is here: http://www.startribune.com/local/south/48771717.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

WCCO-TV had a video version here: http://wcco.com/local/sams.club.fatal.2.1054572.html

The short version of the story is this. A severely drunk man drove over and killed a 66 year old woman at a Sam's Club this past December. At the sentencing hearing yesterday the husband of the deceased announced his forgiveness for the man who perpetrated the crime.

The power of this story speaks for itself.

In WCCO-TV’s video version I was amused when Frank Vascellaro justifiably asked the woman reporting the story, “were you taken with his willingness to forgive?”

Let me ask everyone reading this blog this question, “could you forgive a drunk driver who twice ran over and subsequently killed your spouse?”

My short answer is “yes,” but it would take a lot of faith. Faith that can happen when our lives are informed by the Scriptures.

Which is exactly why I was so touched to see a picture in the newspaper of a red-faced man sharing forgiveness with a Bible in his hand.

The Bible is not often seen as a source of forgiveness. Most often when someone is holding it up that person is announcing judgment or vengeance or sharing how terribly people have sinned. This stereotype has permeated our culture—it’s one that informed by mistaken view when I first saw the picture in the newspaper this morning.

I want to do everything I can to change this stereotype of the Bible. This change will happen when more people live and act like LeRoy Johnson; this change will happen when the church is more effective at teaching the central messages of the Scriptures; this change will happen when more of us open up our Bibles and read it.

One of the greatest stories in the Bible is when Jesus looked at his perpetrators and said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

I want to thank LeRoy Johnson for sharing a 21st century example of this biblical story.

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