Tonight, Greg and I watched the incredible true story as told on ‘Dateline’ about the horrific murders in October of 1979 of an Oklahoma Baptist pastor and his wife – while their two teenage children watched and amazingly – although wounded themselves – survived.
It is incredible and heart wrenching. It is also a story of forgiveness. Some 15 years after the murders – the older of the two children, Brooks Douglass faced the man who had shot his parents, serving life in prison at the time. As he told the story on Dateline – he was very emotional when he told this part of the story. He said he made a decision to forgive the man. When he did – something inside of him broke – and all the years of pent-up anger and emotion – were released. All because of being willing to forgive. He did it for his parents, his sister – but mostly he did it for him.
It is powerful. Raw and Gritty. And I was amazed at his courage – and the courage of his young teenage sister who repeatedly had to testify in court over the next 15 years to have the men put away for good.
Brooks eventually ran for Oklahoma senate – and won – passing a bill that would usher in new ‘victim’s rights’. And he began to write his story – and eventually wrote the screen play for the movie of these events called ‘Heaven’s Rain’ – due to come out in February.
The subject of forgiveness is a difficult one. Especially when we have been wronged. I have a difficult time with it – and I have never had anything so hideous done to me personally or any of my family members. But it doesn’t matter. If we withhold forgiveness from another person who has wronged us – it is like poison and will eat us up inside. The bible says to ‘forgive’ – not for them – but for us. And showing mercy and grace to others is so necessary for our own personal healing – that’s why there is so much emphasis on this in scripture.
I encourage you to watch the special about this amazing true story as told on Dateline.
Below is the movie trailer in which Brooks – now in his 40’s plays the role of his father. Very moving.