Anyone who has ever felt the pain of loss, the helplessness of overwhelming anger, and/or the desire to do something meaningful should read the beautiful new book Letters from My Father's Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness. Often, our darkest hour is the most opportune time for a spiritual revolution and this book lights the way to some remarkable truths. Letters not only details the journey but also explores some unexpected paths along the way.
Until one has suffered the murder of a close relative, comprehending the complexities of the situation is virtually impossible. Likewise, until one has endured the soul-crushing despair of an unfaithful spouse, understanding that tangled mess is also virtually impossible. In this book, the former is experienced first-hand through the author while the latter is explored by a convicted murderera person who will most likely never taste earthly freedom again but one who remains as human as any of us.
Amidst today's electronic anonymity of lightning-quick rushes to harsh, unyielding judgment and widespread vitriol fueled by single-minded hate, messages of hope are far too rare. Debate and compromise, much less collaboration, are often rendered moot by deleterious condemnation based upon differences that will not matter one iota in the long run. Letters demonstrates that even among the most natural of enemies there exists not only an eternal connection but also indefatigable grace and hope when we have just a little bit of faith.
From Vengeance to Forgiveness - A Search for Truth, Justice, and Understanding
July 4, 2015
richard r blake
Age: Over 65
Laurie Coombs memoir Letters from My Fathers Murderer A Journey in Forgiveness opens with the details leading up to and the aftershock of the tragic death of her father, a murder victim.
Devastated, but determined. Laurie went on with her life; finished her college education, married her fianc, Travis, and began a family. On the surface things looked well, however, Laurie was experiencing a paralyzing anxiety and depression. Laurie walked away from her familys church as a teenager, her skepticism left her broken and angry. As the hatred of her fathers murderer heightened she became obsessed with questions of justice and a spirit of bitterness.
Responding to a friends invitation, Laurie, Travis, and her girls visited a nearby church. Although still skeptical, Laurie returned to the church week after week. She experienced a deepened awareness of the possibility of healing from her emotional and mental symptoms through faith. Jesus offered peace and forgiveness. Her hunger for truth led to her redemption, personal peace and a heartfelt passion to share her story.
Lauries journey of forgiveness led to a definite step of obedience to connect with the murderer of her father. Her process of forgiveness and healing led to corresponding with Anthony, her fathers murderer. These letters are recounted in the story of Gods working in their lives through the process of forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation.
Coombs writing is articulate, well organized, and authentic. I came away with a deeper awareness of the emotions felt by the survivors and the bitterness evidenced in victims who have lost loved ones due to tragic circumstances. Letters from My Fathers Murderer is timely and relevant with an important message for the families who are grieving in response to the tragedy of crime, accidents brought about by others, and those losing loved ones while in the service of our country.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
This is a book about redemption, Coombs writes. It is about seeing something good come out of something very bad.
Her story is heartbreaking. She writes of receiving the news of her dad's murder, her feelings, her marriage a year later, the trial (two and a half years after the murder), beginning a teaching career, children, depression and anxiety, a return to church and salvation, spiritual growth and being confronted with the need to forgive and love her enemies.
Coombs is very honest about the process of forgiving her enemy, the man who murdered her dad. She could do it only through the strength of God. She takes us through the process of communication by letters and the ultimate healing.
There are many issues to think about in this book. Some include the Old Testament laws (e.g. for adultery and murder), grace, and degrees of sin. Perhaps the most important one is that God can truly create beauty out of ashes. It is amazing that God would use a tragedy in the past for ministry in the future.
This example from Coombs is a wonderful assurance that God does work all things for good for those who love Him. I recommend it to anyone who wants to read a great testimony of God's power to forgive and heal.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
What a tremendous story on true forgiveness. I love that we get to hear both sides of the story, which is rare. The story is a struggle from the heart that takes you on a journey through pain, anger, bitterness, and then into resolution and peace. If you have ever thought to yourself I just can't forgive, please purchase this book and see that it is indeed possible. Maybe you have thought to yourself you don't need to forgive.... I believe after reading this book you will see why forgiveness is so necessary for mental and physical health.
I could not put down this book once I began. It was such a beautiful story, full of heartache, love, forgiveness and redemption. I have thankfully never had to forgive such a grievous thing as murder. However, the story was so compelling that I completed the book in complete awe of the Awesome God that we serve. It has inspired me to live more fully and be more attentive to His calling in my own life.