The Power of Forgiveness | Sojourners

The Power of Forgiveness

Letter to the Editors

Thank you for the January 2013 issue's strong emphasis on abolishing the death penalty ("Who Would Jesus Execute?" interview of Richard Viguerie by Jim Wallis; "Gandalf, Gollum, and the Death Penalty," by Tobias Winright).

Ever since my son Scott was murdered in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1987, I have worked to eliminate the retributive act of capital punishment. I have spoken in 17 states and the District of Columbia about my experience of being prodded by God to forgive the offender. As a result, God has provided healing for both the offender and me.

Of the many excellent reasons for seeking repeal of the death penalty, the most compelling for me is that God does not want either offenders or victims' family members to live with the pain of the past. If I had not heeded God's call to forgive, I would very probably be dead by now—if not physically, at least emotionally and spiritually.

The person who killed Scott is out of prison and regularly speaks to various groups about the renewal in his life. He and I also frequently appear together at various programs, speaking about the power of forgiveness.

Many speak of the fiscal benefit of abolishing the death penalty, but even more important is the saving of lives, both of victims' family members and offenders.


Walter H. Everett
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania

This appears in the March 2013 issue of Sojourners