The Mallet of Judgement
The following article has been written by a mother a mother of a murdered teenager in response to an article and her communications with Kim Workman of Prison Fellowship.
Kristine Johnston says, "People should never expect to be forgiven. They may wish for it, pray for it and if they receive it they should be in no doubt as to its value."
The Mallet of Judgement
I refuse to allow anyone to upset my sensibilities again and tell me I have to forgive. I will not- I will go to my grave like that in honour of my son. I know many mothers who will not forgive the killers of their children. See we belong to the "unforgiving club"… that nobody wants to belong too. We wear a badge of honour for our children because they are the most important to us. Like the scarlet letter I wear my wound on my chest but I am not uncomfortable with it and I have no problem if you feel uncomfortable when you see it because of whom and why I am. Nor do I have a problem that your uncomfortable feeling might grow as I continue to wear my stance more publicly and especially when more like me grow in number and only because of the killers of this world.
As we grow in number perhaps you might feel a need to take a look at your own stance and why you want to quell our voices and mould us to fit into your misleading agenda that is prejudiced by your own spiritual beliefs. How easy it is to use the "highest power, God" to make victims feel guilt for how they feel and the stance they have taken. I would suggest a good measure of balanced understanding would be spending more time with the victims rather than the offenders and see how keen you are to promote forgiveness then.
The way I am hearing it now, it is as if the offender says "okay I am ready to say sorry now, bring the victim in, parade them before me and I will apologise to them and they can lift my burden by forgiving me. But this time he will not be alone because he has the backing of God and restorative justice to place his burden over on to the victims already over burdened soul.
It can only be out of ignorance that one makes the call for victims to "get past it, move on and to forgive the killers." A person who lacks understanding to that extent should never be allowed to work with the victims of murder
Let's look more closely at this restorative justice which, is bandied around so freely and see what is in it for the victims of murder.
Will it restore my Shannon back to life?
Will he come home to me and take away my grief and pain his loss bruised my soul with?
What else is important to me?
Forgiving the killers will not make my anger and pain and grief go away. I have lost my son for Gods sake- that is the anger the pain and the grief. He was murdered violently – more violently than most – forgiving them, does not take that away- it still happened I still live with it and that will never leave me because it is part of my journey now that I have (was forced) to live with … and why - because those you want me to forgive decided to kill my son in a violent unnatural illegal way.
After they killed him on mass they went home and watched cartoons and then the next day took their friends to the scene and showed them what they had done. They revelled in it and one told his step brother there was no remorse or guilt feeling- just a sense of real power he had never felt before. The other laughed on the Police interview video which I was warned about before I went into the deposition hearing. The prosecutor described the killing as a sport and the appeal judge said it was a hate crime.
I gave my son the gift of life and they took that gift and degraded it and quashed it out and in that process they altered my life and over-burdened my soul forever. I will forever carry what they did as will my family– which has nothing to do with not forgiving, but because of what they did do which can never change.
If you want to forgive them and take their burden away- feel free – but do not expect me to endorse your choice because it makes your path easier and serves the purpose you want to achieve because of your job or beliefs or whatever. I am astounded you have the audacity to stand there and try to bully me into something that serves your agenda when you do not feel my pain and my loss and could never do so because your call to victims tells me you do not have the compassion needed or any understanding of the journey killers put sole survivors on.
It is not my job or my belief to do as you demand of me. My first and foremost job is to be true to myself and my own beliefs. I would never have the audacity to tell any victim to forgive or not to forgive or how they have to feel or what they need to do – if they should do restorative justice or not do restorative justice. I do not know of one person in SST that would do that- WHY- because we have walked that journey, we understand and know and would not demand anyone with such raw emotional scars to be as we think they need to be.
I am a murdered son's mum and I will look my son lovingly in the eyes when I next meet him because he will know his mum did not devalue his life force or sell him short because of some killer who wants to unburden his soul onto my already overburdened one. His actions have already told me what he is all about.
Bringing religion into the act of murder is nothing more than carrying a big mallet to squash the heads of those that will not conform to the forgiveness that is preached from the pulpit of that belief system. When the ultimate power is used to manifest the forgiving of murderers then we instil guilt into the victim who refuses to comply which creates a bigger load to be carried around.
I think giving advice to someone who has gone through such an experience is superficial and it is time that those who "think" they know realised that
Bandying around that killers have found God and they need to be given another chance is a crock and my answer to that is
It is nothing more than "Jailhouse religion"
I'm so sorry. He'll just have to lead that better life without my forgiveness. It might be the better lesson. And now that he has found God he should be all the more keener to see his sentence through to the end.
People should never expect to be forgiven. They may wish for it, pray for it and if they receive it they should be in no doubt as to its value, because such acts should be earned and they should be rare. They have no right to be forgiven, indeed they should spend the rest of their lives working in order to be felt worthy of receiving that forgiveness, for that is where its value is found.