On May 11, 2002, 24-year-old drunk driver, Eric, killed one of Renee’s twins, Meagan, and one of her friends, Lisa. Both girls were 20 years old. This was devastating for all three families involved, and countless friends that mourned the loss of these precious girls. The chains of darkness, despair, unbearable grief, and anger could have held Renee prisoner for the rest of her life. But, thankfully, the story doesn’t end here. This is also a story of forgiveness. Through the grace of God, Renee’s family and Lisa’s family both chose to forgive Eric. They even appealed to have his 22-year prison sentence reduced to 11 years.
Since March 29, 2004, Renee has traveled all over the country telling her story to thousands of people. She always includes forgiveness in her talks because she has learned how powerful this message is for everyone. Eric told Renee that he accepted Christ as his Savior because of Meagan and Lisa. Renee includes a video of Eric during her presentations, but will soon have him standing beside her during her talks: a living, breathing example of the dangers of drunk driving and the power of forgiveness.
By Renee forgiving Eric, she made a choice to humbly follow the example Christ set for us, and God has used her step of faith to release healing into both of their lives. What is it about Renee that would allow her to see her perpetrator through eyes of grace and not anger? It’s only when your heart and soul are awake to see the need of forgiveness in your own life can you be more inclined to see your enemy through eyes of compassion. Jesus laying down his own life for our sins is the truest example of how we should forgive others. And the reward of forgiveness is great.