Her opening remarks certainly caught the room off guard. “The man I ate dinner with tonight killed my brother.” these words were spoken by a stylish woman at a banquet in Seattle. She then proceeded to tell the story of how a man names John had murdered her brother during a robbery, served 18 years at a state prison, then settled into life on a dairy farm, where she had met him in 20 years after his crime. Compelled by Christ’s command to forgive, Ruth Youngsman had gone to her enemy to pronounce forgiveness. Then she had taken him to her father’s deathbed, prompting reconciliation.
Certainly some wouldn’t call this a success story: John didn’t dedicate his life to Christ on the spot. But that night at the gathering his voice cracked as he said, “Christians are the only people I know that you can kill their son, and they’ll make you a part of their family. I don’t know the Man Upstairs, but He sure is hounding me.”
John’s story is unfinished, but just as Christ died for us regardless of our actions or acceptance, Ruth through time learned to forgive without qualification. Even more so, she became his friend. “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15