"We will not be able to recover the vision and understanding of God's grandeur until we recover an understanding of ourselves as creatures who have been made to know such grandeur. This must begin with the recovery of the idea that as beings made in God's image, we are fundamentally moral beings, not consumers, that the satisfaction of our psychological needs pales in significance when compared with the enduring value of doing what is right. Religious consumers want to have a spirituality for the same reason that they want to drive a stylish and expensive auto. Costly obedience is as foreign to them in matters spiritual as self-denial is in matters material. In a culture filled with such people, restoring weight to God is going to involve much more than simply getting some doctrine straight; it's going to entail a complete reconstruction of the modern self-absorbed pastiche personality."

- David Wells
Set Free

I ran across a news piece about an Iranian mother and father who freed their son's murderer in dramatic fashion -- at a public hanging. The only retribution the mother took, apparently, was slapping the killer's face while he awaited the chair to be kicked from underneath him. After that slap the father removed the noose, setting the man free.

The photos from the would be execution speak louder than the text.


Powerful images. Powerful story.


Trackback URL: http://thinklings.org/bloo.trackback.php/6990.

Comments on "Set Free":
1. NHE - 04/19/2014 2:17 pm CDT

awesome........is this grace and forgiveness from an Islamic family? If so, wow....we Western Christians don't have a lot of categories for this do we?

2. Karl - 04/21/2014 2:44 pm CDT

Pretty amazing story. Incredible pictures.

She says her son appeared to her in a dream and told her not to seek retribution. What category do you put that in? Was it really her son? Was it her own subconscious (or whatever you call whatever part of the brain dreams usually come from) re-processing her thoughts and emotions about her son and the upcoming confrontation with his killer? Was it a spirit of some sort? "Just" a dream but one sent as a message from God rather than just the workings of her subconscious mind? Other?

I'm not asking b/c I think we can ultimately know the answer. But I'm curious re. where your mind goes when you read that her son (a muslim, apparently) came to her post-death in a dream and told her not to seek retribution against his killer. Like NHE says, I'm not sure we have a lot of categories in which to place either the display of grace and forgiveness in the context of an Islamic family, nor the account of the dream that is the reason she chose to do it.

3. Tony - 04/22/2014 10:36 am CDT

At an individual level this is fantastic. The compassion, grace and forgiveness is amazing.

Isn't it impossible for this to happen in the States because the state will press charges for the crime if the individual doesn't?

4. Karl - 04/22/2014 1:38 pm CDT

Good question, Tony. Yes, in the US when someone commits a crime the state is ultimately considered the aggrieved party because it is the state's laws that were broken.

Thus if a person named John Smith commits a murder, the criminal case will be styled something like "State of Texas vs. John Smith" rather than [name of victim or his family] vs. John Smith.

In reading the above story, it's not totally different in this case. The victim's family was only able to extend mercy as far as sparing the killer the death penalty. He doesn't go free - he gets a jail sentence instead of hanging.

5. Bird - 04/23/2014 5:48 pm CDT

Was it really her son? Was it her own subconscious (or whatever you call whatever part of the brain dreams usually come from) re-processing her thoughts and emotions about her son and the upcoming confrontation with his killer?

No idea. But every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights -- that's for sure.

6. Karl - 04/30/2014 2:35 pm CDT

This is another amazing story of forgiveness and grace involving the parent of a murdered child:


"It is surely one of the most powerful stories of forgiveness in modern history. In 1993, Oshea Israel shot and killed Laramiun Byrd, 20, Mary Johnson's only child.

For this crime, Israel spent 17 years in prison. But while Mary says she originally wanted only justice for the murder of her son, and viewed Israel as an "animal," she eventually learned that what she most yearned for was the healing power of forgiveness.

Now, after meeting several times while Israel was in prision, and at Mary's personal invitation, Israel is her next-door neighbor. He himself has begun to minister to other inmates about the power of forgiveness.

But it's even more extraordinary than that. "Some people think I'm psychotic for doing this, but I view us as mother and son," says Johnson. "I wear a locket-one side has a picture of me and Laramiun, the other side has Oshea. There's no act."

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