11th April, 2012
Live to Forgive (PG)
In A Word: Challenging
"The inspirational story of how God changed one man's life in the midst of the most devastating of circumstances."
US pastor Dean Eric Smith has been on an amazing journey of forgiveness. Live to Forgive, a documentary about that journey, explains why.
The story starts with the murder of Smith's mother, beaten to death with a baseball bat by her then husband and Smith's step-father, Bob, when Smith was just aged 12.
Following her death, Smith tells how he tried to deal with what happened, burying himself for a time in 'partying' with drugs and alcohol before realising that only through God-inspired forgiveness will he find the freedom he seeks.
Now living in Enumclaw, Washington (where he runs Live to Forgive Ministries), Smith was challenged by God to meet with Bob and the documentary crew are present when in 2008, he travels to Tennessee and there meets his step-dad, the man who killed his mother, for the first time since the murder.
It's an amazing story of forgiveness and restoration and shows how the ripples of Smith's actions in seeking out his step-father and embracing him in a gesture of forgiveness effect those around him, including his sister and the church family to which both he and Bob had one belonged.
There is no sugar-coating here and the pain of all those involved is clearly evident on the screen. It's not a pain that magically disappears. Instead there's a reality here that is so contrary to our natural inclinations when it comes to interacting with someone who has wronged us, that God's hand in bringing the two men together is clearly evident.
The movie has been shown at 'forgiveness nights' in churches in the US and there's no doubt that this movie would be the perfect vehicle to kickstart a conversation about the importance of forgiveness. The inspirational story of how God changed one man's life in the midst of the most devastating of circumstances.
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