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After a while I calmed down, and I told him I loved him and that the police would soon realize nothing tied him to the shootings. I went back to my room, still angry, disappointed, and depressed. What would happen next?

As the days passed, two things happened: First, the investigation centered more and more on Bart as the mastermind of a plot to kill the rest of the family, assuming that his motives were greed and to cover up failures at school. Second, I came to realize that perhaps my life had been spared for a reason. God must have something important for me to do, because I could see no logical explanation for my still being alive. The bullet hit me well away from my right lung, and nearly six inches from my heart. The gunman couldn't have been that bad a shot. Not at that close range.

It occurred to me that perhaps my purpose was to be God's agent of guidance and instruction for Bart. If he was innocent, I would be the anchor he relied on as he weathered the storms of suspicion; I wouldn't let him go through that horror alone. If he was guilty, I would be in a unique position to model God's unconditional forgiveness and love. I might be the person God would use to soften Bart's heart. And since I already had forgiven whoever was responsible, if Bart was guilty, he would be covered in a pure forgiveness, granted before I ever thought it might apply to my son. Either way, until I knew more, I would be nonjudgmental and supportive. While I couldn't gloss over anything or minimize the consequences of any wrongs Bart might have committed, I still needed to show him that God forgives and that there is always hope.

Maybe I'm crazy. But I took comfort in knowing that I was doing what God wanted me to do. I like reading that line in the Bible about the wisdom of God being foolishness to man. Maybe a nut was exactly whom God intended to use.

Where are Kent and Bart Whitaker today?
FROM: Forgiving the Son Who Killed My Family
Published on October 06, 2008

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