A Choice of Path
To forgive...or not to forgive.
Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and felt you were reliving pieces of your own life?
The other night I watched a TV movie produced by Hallmark called “Crossroads – A Story of Forgiveness.” It told the true story of Bruce Murakami, a man who lost his wife and young daughter in a car accident.
Bruce and his two sons were torn apart as they grieved their loss and struggled to make any sense out of the tragedy.
The police stated Bruce's wife was to blame for pulling out from a mall parking lot in front of another car. But, there were conflicting statements from witnesses and some thought street racing had been involved.
Bruce fought until he found a lawyer who was willing to help him discover what really happened. After investing further, they found proof that street racing had been the cause of the collision. Bruce was filled with anger and revenge.
After given the opportunity during the trial to meet and talk to the Justin, the teenager responsible, Bruce realized not only how remorseful the young man felt, but how willing he was to be punished for taking two lives.
Bruce asked the court not sentence the teen to prison for many years, but instead require that Justin go with Bruce to speak to high school students about the dangers of reckless driving. They’ve shared their personal story in many schools, making an impact on other teens.
Four and half years ago my stepdaughter was killed in an auto accident at the age of nineteen. It happened in another state while she visited friends. A state trooper hit the passenger side of the car she was riding in so hard that she flew out of her seat belt and through the sunroof. She was killed instantly.
We dealt with anger, grief, and frustration at not being given the answers to our questions. Lawyers wanted to take the case to help us find the truth as to what happened that day, but were afraid to go up against the law enforcement of that state.
We didn’t have a chance to sit across from the person, like Bruce Murakami did, and see the driver as a person. Or hear any statement of remorse from him.
But, just as Bruce Murakami, we discovered that in order to heal, we needed to forgive.
Forgiveness frees us so much more than it frees the offender.
To hold on to anger and resentment is like drinking a slow killing poison and hoping it will bring death to the person who hurt us.
I applaud Hallmark Hall of Fame for bringing this movie into our homes. And I applaud Bruce Murakami for the work he and Justin have done to reach teenagers.
You can find out more about Bruce’s story by going to http://www.hallmark.com/ and clicking on the box pertaining to this movie. You can access a video of Bruce sharing pieces of his story, email Bruce, and download a discussion guide to the movie and personal reflection on forgiveness.
You can also find out more about the program founded by Bruce to promote safe driving by teens at www.safeteendriver.org