Yesterday was the day my mom and Joey’s friends finally had the opportunity to face George Martinez, Jr., the man responsible for the death of Joey Jello.
The hearing was set to begin at 1:30 PM CST. At 2:30, I received a message from one of my new “brothers” notifying me that Mr. Martinez had not arrived; a warrant had been issued for his arrest and officers had been sent to bring him to court in handcuffs. At 3:30, the man finally showed up to hear in detail the pain he had caused. When the judge asked him why he was late to court, he hid behind his children saying he was trying to explain to them what was happening, as though he hadn’t had the last six months minimum to prepare.
My immediate reaction to each of these pieces of news as they filtered in was anger. MEAN, RED, CAN’T SEE STRAIGHT, ANGER…AGAIN! This man, this stranger, keeps breaking my heart. He stole my brother away from me, and here he was stealing my peace, again. I had put everything out there in my letter, let go of all my claims to hate him and this was the perfect chance to pick it all back up. And I’ll be honest, part of me still wants to pick it up again, take back my forgiveness.
BUT, did I forgive George Martinez for killing my brother because he deserved it? Because I knew he was going to accept the challenge I issued to be a better man? No. I forgave him because God forgave me. I forgave him because I don’t deserve forgiveness any more than he does. I’ve judged my fellow man; I’ve harbored jealousy and hatred in my heart; I’ve lied; I’ve hurt people with my words and actions; and on and on. But God gave His perfect Son as a sacrifice for me. He took me off the hook before I ever accepted His forgiveness, without any guarantee that I would accept Him.
And my love for Him requires me to pay that same selfless forgiveness forward. It doesn’t matter if George Martinez never turns his life around; I still forgive him. I hope he will change, but regardless, I forgive. It hurts, it requires death to self for me to do it, but I WILL keep. on. forgiving.