On the morning after his 16th birthday, Jimmy Mizen went out to buy his first lottery ticket and popped into the Three Cooks Bakery to pick up a snack as he did every Saturday morning. Into the shop swaggered the short wiry aggressive Dirty Detz, gangster rapper, drug dealer, street fighter who barged Jimmy out of the way, jumped the queue demanding to know why there were no chicken sandwiches left.
‘Some manners wouldn’t go amiss’, said Jimmy quietly.
Three minutes later Jimmy was dead. Fatally wounded in a frenzied attack. He bled to death in his brothers arms.
Last Sunday we heard his mum and dad , Margaret and Barry Mizen, tell us how the killing of their 6’4’’ gentle giant broke their heart. Their pain was still raw, it had me reaching for my hanky, but what we took away was not the story of shock and horror, (which it certainly was), but a positive sense of the power of the Easter story to turn bad into good through faith.
They made national headlines by immediately offering the killer forgiveness, not seeking revenge. Even though their hearts were broken, their hearts went out to the parents of the young killer. Because of the choice they made to go the Jesus way, ‘Father forgive them , they know not what they do’, they have not been crippled by resentment and bitterness, and have gone on to develop a lovely ministry in schools and prisons pointing young people to a better way of living. Their story was breathtaking ( see http://www.thejimmymizenfoundation.tumblr.com )
Recently a 17 year old from a nearby school was also killed in an unprovoked attack and the killer is now waiting to be sentenced. His mother was reported in the newspaper as being full of anger and bitterness, describing the killer as an oxygen thief who should be in prison for life.
We must pray that she very soon realises that the person who is always affected by unforgiveness is the victim. It has been said that, ‘harbouring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die’. Pray that before the poison eats her up and destroys her she discovers the ‘F’ word.
This Easter let’s proclaim this life changing message with all the energy we’ve got. I’ve put a cross on my balcony and some angels blowing trumpets above the word HOPE. It’s what Jesus died to give all of us in the midst of our pain, hurt and disappointments. And bitterness.
Easter, it’s not about chocolate eggs; its about forgiveness that leads to FREEDOM, both in this life and the next!
Proclaim it, proudly, its powerful.