Eventually she started attending and taking classes at church, where a common topic was forgiveness. A classmate suggested that Orr should forgive her daughter’s murderer, which at first infuriated her but ultimately prompted her to write a letter of forgiveness to her daughter’s killer.
“And the instant that I put that letter in the mailbox,” she told Shafer in that 2002 interview and confirmed in a phone call last week, “all the anger, all the rage, all the darkness that I’ve been carrying around, all the ugliness I’ve been carrying around in my body for 12 long years, instantly was gone. Just gone. And in its place I was filled with this sense of joy and love. And I was truly in a state of grace, simply from offering forgiveness to another human being.” ….
She believes that carrying anger and rage toward another person perpetuates one’s sense of being a victim. “Being a victim is a choice,” she says “and I have chosen not to be a victim any longer. …. Not only did I heal myself, I healed my whole family. When you’re filled with rage, you can’t be a wife, you can’t be a mother, so healing that rage does so much benefit, not just to me, but to everyone around me.”
…Gayle still grieves for her daughter, and while she doesn’t believe her daughter’s murderer should be executed, she believes he should spend his life in prison.
In my book, Forgiveness: Heal Your Past and Find the Peace You Deserve, I talk extensively about what forgiveness is and what it is not. Basically, the most important aspect myth I want to address of forgiveness is that it does NOT condone the other person’s behavior. No one will ever, could ever say that what Jodi Arias did was ok.
Holding onto the intense anger only suffocates the person holding it. It destroys you from the inside out. As Gayle says above, remaining a victim is a choice and we all have the choice to heal ourselves. Forgiveness is 100% for you and has nothing to do with the person who hurt you, or your loved one.
In a chapter called Forgiving the Unforgivable, I presented a number of stories where the people who forgave the unforgivable have been able to find peace. Brenda Adelman, who was able to forgive her father for killing her mother, went on to create a play about her experience and teach people about forgiveness. Holocaust survivor, a Eva Kor, with her twin sister, were subjects of Dr. Mengele’s and once she forgave, she says, she was able to find peace inside.
The world is filled with stories of families of murder victims forgiving. If they can forgive, as a society, I think we should likewise be able to.
Yet, I find we are angry, frustrated, and get caught up in the collective witch hunt mentality. We all have a serious role to play. Do you choose to live with revenge in your heart, or seek viable solutions to protect society and solve this horrendous criminal population explosion we have in the US?
What does it mean when the media makes a circus out of a trial, when witnesses are too scared to testify due to death threats, and when gangs of people filled with hatred and vengeance vie to throw the first stone? And what does it do to the jurors that serve for months on end, listening and viewing horrific evidence, to then have to make the decision to take a life?
I am just asking, are there other solutions that we can take? Do we really want to be in the company of Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia as one of the remaining nations with government sanctioned death penalties?
Yes, the statistics show that as a nation, the US tends to be very violent in it’s “love-relationships.” Perhaps some of the money we save on death penalty appeals can go to victim’s families, or to educating young people how to behave and communicate and get their needs met in healthier ways.