Week after week, as a Prosecutor, I would engage with victims of crime. Most had their property taken, some had been assaulted. My job was to “bring justice,” but criminal prosecution never brought closure. Days after the case ended I would part ways with the victims and mostly never see them again.
How different it was when Patricia came to UGM. She stayed for years. She fought bravely to overcome the symptoms of the trauma she had endured in life. Her boyfriend had murdered her son. Most people felt she was entitled to utterly hate the man who had committed this heinous crime. That very hatred kept her locked in a self-destructive pattern of depression.
Someone once said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to suffer its effects. Tricia took the antidote for the poison. She drank the cup of Jesus. She received forgiveness for her own bad choices, and she grew in her ability to pass that grace on to her child’s killer.
She would never feel good about it. She would never again become friends with the killer. However, she courageously pursued a real, and meaningful release of the debt he owed her for taking her son’s life. When she canceled that debt, she became free to pursue the future with joy.
She is one of my heroes. I am proud to call her a friend!
The Courageous Women stories are by Executive Director at Union Gospel Mission, Bill Russell. Bill has been a leader at Union Gospel Mission for 25 years. He is the co-founder of Union Gospel Mission's LifeChange recovery program. LifeChange helps men, women and children escape abuse, addiction and homelessness to transform their lives.
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