The date was May 12,1996. I attended the funeral of Prudence, a girl of only 14 years who was abused and brutally murdered by a serial killer in the southern area of Johannesburg. Prudence came from a Seventh-day Adventist family.
As I listened to different speakers who spoke about her life at home, school and church, I could see that she was a responsible girl with a bright future. Her life was taken away prematurely. Naturally, when this happens, one experiences mixed feelings such as anger, helplessness, insecurity, impatience, and need for justice.
As a minister's wife, I thought it would be appropriate for me to meet the girl's mother and remind her about the promises of Christ, such as "I will come again" (John 14:1-3).
Even before I could begin talking to her, she told me that she had forgiven the man who killed her daughter. She went on to say, "The death of my daughter has strengthened my faith in the Lord. Nothing will change my faith in Jesus!' As I looked at the mother's face, I could see that she meant what she said. She forgave in spite of the great loss. "A church member was setting a good Christian example to a minister's wife," I thought as I listened.
This forgiving spirit reminded me of the Great Forgiver, our Lord Jesus Christ who uttered the words of forgiveness to the men who crucified Him. Jesus forgave in spite of the agony He went through on the cross. "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34, NIV). Jesus taught His disciples to pray to our Father in Heaven: ". . . Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors
I pray that the Lord will help me and my fellow ministers' wives and all who have the hope of His soon coming to have a forgiving spirit in spite of difficulties.