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{Love Your Enemy} The Letter

Posted on: September 14th, 2012 by Laurie Coombs 9 Comments

It was May 18, 2010––close to 10 years after my dad was murdered––when my husband, Travis, came home from work with a letter in his hand. “You’ve got a letter,” he said.

“Thanks,” I said smiling as he handed it to me. I looked down to see a bold stamp on the backside of the envelope reading, “NORTHERN NEVADA CORRECTIONAL CENTER.”

Looking up at Travis, I spoke in a faint whisper, “I gotta…I gotta go. Take care of the girls.” I ran upstairs and into my bedroom, closing and locking the door behind me. I didn’t want my girls to see me like this. I heard my daughter ask, “What’s Mommy doing?”

“She just needs to take care of something,” Travis said, “Wanna help me with dinner?”

“Yea!” she said with glee.

I sat there, on my bed, for what seemed like hours simply holding the letter, tears pouring forth, willing myself to open it. Finally, the grace was given. I opened the letter and read.

Dear Laurie,

If you feel led to visit me I’m OK with that. If the prison has a special format for a one time visit, I’ll sign the form. If not, and you have to get on a visitors list, let me know and I’ll submit the paperwork.  Please know that no matter what happens I am truly sorry for what I did, most especially to your family.  I wish I could take back that day, every day. Again, Let me know what needs to be done and I’ll do it.

Sincerely

Anthony

I sat there on my bed, reading these lines once, twice, perhaps more––it’s hard to recall.

There I was, holding a letter from him––the man who murdered my dad.  I was holding paper that he touched. I was seeing his handwriting. These were his thoughts written on the paper that I held. The same hand that pulled the trigger that killed my dad wielded the pen that wrote this letter. The thought made my stomach turn.

I knew Jesus was calling me to love my enemy. But this is not what I signed up for. This is not how I thought it would go. This was not my plan. I didn’t want this letter.

It brought me back to the darkest chapter of my life, and I really didn’t want to go there. Yet, I knew I needed to. I knew Jesus was leading me toward forgiveness and healing. So, I would follow––by the grace of God––no matter the cost.

After my emotions began to settle, I wrote in my prayer journal and said,

Thank you, my Lord, my God, for this trial – thank you for pointing me toward forgiveness – I know that this is from You – I know that it is Your will for me to forgive and to go through the process of forgiveness – help me through it.  Lead me through it – let me follow You and Your will completely….

Help me to let go of my anger and bitterness. Heal me my Lord! Help me to find strength in You and to do this while holding Your mighty hand – Help me to have and act on great faith – to take that step out on the water with You in complete trust that it will be OK and that You will take care of me as Peter did! I know it is Your will for good to happen in my life…

Help me to love my enemy – show me what to do – do it through me! Please Lord help me to walk by Your Spirit and let You work in me and through me! …

Bring Your light into my heart and let Your light banish all darkness from my soul!  …I choose you!  …I choose to forgive completely. I choose to love others including my enemies! Help me to be Christ centered – other centered – at all times…. Thank you, my Lord!

In Jesus name,

Amen

The Lord is good. And He saw me through.

Being on the other side of this trial and many others, I know all too well that the things we’re called to are never easy. Jesus himself said, “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14), yet it is when we follow, knowing that difficulties will come, that we truly see and experience life.

I pray that each of us, myself included, continues to stay close enough to our Guide as He leads us along this crazy thing called life.

{It is God’s plan that is the best plan. Follow Him.}

Has God’s plan ever taken you by surprise?

Leave a comment below!

  • Alicia Fisher Hedges

    Laurie, my dad too was murdered when I was almost 7 years old. I am so encouraged by your story. I’ve wondered for the last 5 years or so if I could bring myself to visit this man to tell him that God is good/ to tell him that I forgive him. Honestly, I think he has some mental problems and I’ve been a little scared to do this. I like the idea of writing. How did you initiate the process.
    Thanks!
    Alicia

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  • Wow!!! What an incredible testimony to how God truly wants our hearts to be, to love our enemies, to rely in His timing…His plan…His perfect will for our lives. I would be honored to share this on our weekly testimony ministry! Thank you for sharing it with me!!

    • Thank you for your words of encouragement, Torrie. And for the opportunity to share with those within your sphere of influence! Blessings, my dear sister!

  • Hi Laurie, I’m the one you gave a copy of your book proposal to on the way to the airport after She Speaks. I’ve read your proposal cover to cover. I hope that God opens the door for you to see your book in print. Thanks for sharing this piece.

    • Oh my goodness! Hi Lisha! Thank you for the encouraging words! I, too, was blessed by the article in the P31 magazine! What a blessing you are…

  • Cindy Fitzgerald

    Thank you for sharing your heart and soul! Thank you for sharing your prayer! May God bless and encourage you through your obedience to Him!

  • So powerful Laurie, thank you for sharing. Blessings.