The last two studies on forgiveness focused on Jesus’ teaching on forgiveness, and His living example of forgiveness. In this study, we are going to look at some common misconceptions, deceptions and lies about forgiveness, and counter them with God’s Truth, using a “case study” from the Chardon Ohio school shooting in 2012.
Jesus put tremendous importance on forgiveness in the life of those who choose to follow Him.
Matthew 6:14-15 [Jesus] If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Jesus wanted us to understand that forgiveness is THAT important. He tied our forgiveness we will receive from God directly to the forgiveness that we show others. If we are unforgiving, we are either willfully disobedient (sinning) against God, OR we are NOT a child of God at all. On the other hand, when we do forgive, it is evidence that we truly ARE a child of God.
Having a clear understanding of what forgiveness is from God’s perspective, as well as what forgiveness is not, is CRITICAL for our spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.
We are going to use a “case study” to help us see how to apply God’s teachings on forgiveness. T.J. Lane was a student at Chardon High School in Ohio. On February 27, 2012, Lane walked into the cafeteria and pulled out a handgun. He began shooting, eventually killing 3 students and wounding 3 others. One of the wounded students, Nick Walczak, was left paralyzed for life.
T.J. Lane showed nothing but contempt for his victims and their families. When he arrived at court, he methodically started unbuttoning his long sleeved shirt. He removed his shirt, revealing a t-shirt with the word “KILLER” written on it in large letters. The Judge stuttered a bit as he realized what the shirt said, and tells Lane to remain seated instead of standing to give his statement. Lane smirks, chuckles out loud and uses obscene language and gestures to the families of the victims. You can see the video of this here.
T.J. Lane has (to date) not shown any remorse or regret for his actions.
- What are your reactions to this video?
- What is going on in your mind and heart right now?
- What if your child was one of the students killed or injured by Lane?
- What if your child was the one left paralyzed for life?
- What if you were the one left paralyzed for life?
- How would you go on living after going through something like this?
Holly Walczak, the mother of the paralyzed victim Nick Walczak, said this at Lane’s sentencing: “You will not be in my thoughts after this day.”, “My family and I WILL move on.”, and “I will have to eventually forgive you, otherwise you will haunt me.”
Holly is exactly right, but how could she possibly forgive such an evil, horrible crime… especially with Lane acting the way he did, showing no remorse?
Note: Click on the link for the “speaker’s notes” version of the Forgiving The Unforgiveable study.