Conviction (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last night Greg and I watched a movie called “Conviction” – starring Hillary Swank, based on the actual events of a man sent to prison for a murder he did not commit. He was convicted by a faulty legal system without DNA testing to prove him guilty. Because of this injustice his sister decided to dedicate her adult life to becoming a lawyer so she could one day represent him, run a formal investigation and then have him released after being proven innocent by testing DNA samples that miraculously were not destroyed after 10 years as was usually the case in the state of Massachusetts. It took time but she was finally able to get him released 20 years after his original conviction.
This movie moved me so much that I even dreamt about it last night. In the dream I was friends with the sister and brother and was witnessing first hand the day he was released from prison and sent on his way home. I was one of the special people allowed in to take pictures of them in a secluded room. The absolute joy of these siblings was tangible in my dream. And I was moved beyond words knowing he had missed his daughter growing up and countless other things due to a corrupted legal system that put him away for life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It is impossible to put myself in the place of these siblings whose love for each other is immeasurable. To simply sacrifice myself for another in that extreme is incomprehensible to me.
The Bible tells us that “while we were yet sinners – Christ died for us” – we were unloving, unwilling and unknown – and yet – Christ still died – sacrificing Himself for us so that we would not have to miss out on anything good in this life and the next. He gave the best for us even though we were guilty. Someone might have tried to rescue us, like this sister did her brother because he was innocent – but only God’s great love will do and go beyond the reasonable limits – to find out and seek us out long before we really know and understand.
And I’m grateful. God loves me that much. And He loves you that much too.
Image by Krikit ♥ via Flickr
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.
A couple of weeks ago my husband did a memorial service for a 16-year-old girl who died tragically from a gun-shot wound. And last night a young 17-year-old girl from the church body where we were on staff for 13 years – was killed in an automobile accident.
Both of these events – as well as many more this past year, seem senseless and hard to understand. I can’t even begin to know the depth of sorrow that the family members and close friends are going through. It is one of life’s biggest mysteries. But I also believe that these lives are in God’s hands – and sometimes when you have no other explanation for things that happen – it is reassuring and comforting to know.
One of my favorite older Michael W. Smith songs is a song called ‘I hear Leesha’ – written about a young girl lost in a car accident. It is reported that she was the younger of two sisters in the car – and the older one survived. The older sister had a terrible time over the loss until she had a vision where she saw her sister in heaven telling her,”I’m okay”. It’s a very moving and powerful song – especially if you’ve ever lost anyone close to you.
This song is dedicated to the families of these two girls – and I am praying that you will find comfort in your time of deepest darkness and sorrow.
Seems like it was only yesterday
She was living here
Yea, she was living here
Lord knows why He’s taken her away
It isn’t very clear, no it isn’t very clear
Into every life a little rain must fall
And losing one you love is like a storm
But storms are passing
I hear Leesha
Singing in heaven tonight
And in between the sadness
I hear Leesha
Telling me that she’s alright
Life goes on even after life
That’s what I believe
Yea, that’s what I believe
Leesha’s gone, but she will still survive
In a memory that I’m keeping here with me
Silencing the voice of mortal tragedy
Listening to whispers of the soul
All is peaceful