Bernie Siegel, M.D., author, great friend to Heavenletters, sent in this excerpt from a newspaper column he writes. He sent it in response to the recent Heavenletter #4055, Doing Your Best.
Read this excerpt.
I just read this true story about a Korean minister whose church was not doing well. His two sons encouraged him to pray and work and show his countrymen that one can truly forgive.
While the father was away preaching, his two sons were killed. The police were able to capture their murderer who confessed.
At his trial the judge was about to sentence him to death when the minister stood up and said, “I forgive this man who killed my two sons. By sentencing the killer of my beloved ones to death, the law can do nothing to help my grief. Why kill him then? Why not give him to me? Let me bring him into my family. He can take the place of one of those I have lost. If you will let me have him, I promise Almighty God to treat him as my own son.”
He took him home, hearing his sons’ words and showing everyone the way to forgiveness.
I want to know this minister. Does he live in Korea or U.S. I imagine Korea because I don't think the courts in the west would allow the accused go free. Did the man who killed his sons' bodies live with the minister from then on? Because of the minister's rising above the situation, I can feel all the love the man who took the sons' lives must have lived without all his life. When the accused heard the minister's request, I wonder how much he cried. And was the minister able to make this man his son? It couldn't happen in an instant, could it? Or could it?
What a man this minister is, and what his two beloved sons were to advise their father as they did. The glory of God on Earth.
The father's heroism. He didn't become angry with God and ask Why, Why, how could You? What a great human being and inspiration.
I am so grateful that Bernie sent this to us.
This tale reminds me of two other stories I know, one true and one fiction. The true one is one I've told before. It's the one of the mother who hated for years her son's friend who, under the effect of drugs, killed her son, his friend. She hated her son's friend with a vehemence. Finally, after years of hate, she knew she couldn't go on that way any longer, for the hate was killing her. She went to the prison to meet with her son's sentenced murderer, and they cried together. The prisoner missed his friend too. The long and the short of it is that, from then on, she fought for the boy's release. When he was released, she picked him up and brought him to her home and he became her son, and she his mother. She was an ordinary woman who became extraordinary.
In Les Miserables, Jean Valjean had stolen silverware and candlesticks from a wealthy bishop's house. Jean Valjean was a practiced robber and had served much time in prison for having stolen bread for his sister's children. Soon after his theft of the silver, the police stopped him and found the silver. They brought him to the bishop to return the silver. The bishop simply said: "Oh, no, I gave the silver to this man."
Whatever the exact words were that the bishop had said, they changed Jean Valjean's miserable life into something beautiful. How could Jean Valjean possibly stay the same?
What is there that love cannot do?