Welcome to #90mStrong Mondays. Each week we’ll share a story from one of the 90 million people who opposes the death penalty. Are you one of the #90mstrong? Raise your voice to put an end to the death penalty! Share your story at NCADP.tumblr.com.
"Most kids have been told by their parents that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” I guess I never got the big idea because as a young person, I was in favor of the death penalty. I had a revengeful attitude and felt completely justified in my beliefs until God brought me to my knees in a way I could never have imagined.
I met my father-in-law Fred Gilreath in a Georgia prison where he was on death row for the murder of his wife and her father some 20 years prior. As I grew to love him and to know some of the other death row inmates and their families, I realized how wrong I had been in supporting the death penalty. I looked into myself and realized we are all capable of great good and great evil.
I never condoned or excused the choices my father-in-law made, but I realized taking his life would not make things right. I came to understand that only forgiveness could bring real closure to a victim’s family.
Every Sunday that I came to the part of the Lord’s Prayer that says,”and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” I came to understand that I don’t deserve forgiveness from God either, yet He forgives me.
How then, can I support taking the life of another one of God’s children who is is locked up and can’t hurt anyone? It’s easy to hate someone when you don’t know them… when they are a story on the 6 o’clock news.
What we must consider is that somewhere out there, that criminal has a mother, a father, a sister or maybe a child that loves them. By taking that criminal’s life, we only hurt those left behind, those who are as innocent as that of the life that was taken.
When people tell me they support the death penalty, I ask them, “Would you feel the same way if it was your son or father or brother that was going to be put to death?”