The question of forgiveness was posed in the July 4 Faith and Values section of The Post and Courier. My answer is yes — I can forgive.
On April 24, 2007, our son Chris’s life was taken on a “family” beach on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He was visiting the University of Hawaii to interview the Environmental Law Program. He had arrived there from New Orleans where he received an offer from Tulane University.
Chris loved the beauty of nature and in his position at the Environmental Health Perspectives journal he experienced the good and bad things occurring around us. He wanted to do more and believed that armed with a law degree he could bring about protection of the environment he loved.
When we were informed of his attack and ultimate death we were immersed in grief and sorrow, not only personally, but for our beloved country and what Chris would have contributed to making it better. He was my only son and the sole carrier of our family’s line. We had to forgive his attacker because that is what Christ and our Roman Catholic faith teach.
Was it difficult to forgive Chris’s killer? Not really, because hate, like that expressed so violently by the Mother Emanuel killer, is meant only for sin and the devil. The teaching of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is really quite simple: You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments — as does our very existence.