“The last thing I ever said to my father was, ‘I love you Daddy. Be careful and be safe.’ The last words he ever told me were, ‘I love you with all of my heart,’” recalls Rachel Clark, whose father was senselessly killed by four young people years ago.
“The events of that night devastated me,” she says. “I wanted them to pay.”
At first, Rachel thought she was coping well. She had turned to prayer and studying the scriptures. She was helping her children and family manage their grief. As time went on, though, she realized she was running from her own.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t even think about my father. The sweetest memories were reduced to the images that were in my mind of his murder,” Rachel describes.
For the next 18 years, she couldn’t sleep longer than a few hours each night. Darkness loomed every day. The thought came to Rachel that she needed to visit her father’s murderers in prison. It was the last thing she wanted to do and the one thing she hadn’t tried, and she was willing to do anything to rid herself of the hate in her heart.
As she visited the prison, Rachel began to see the individuals as Heavenly Father must see them; with loving eyes. She was able to forgive them.
“I walked in those prison doors a shattered victim. I walked out healed, free,” she says. “[Jesus Christ’s] grace is that part that carried me through my darkest days and my loneliest nights, that supported me and ultimately that showed me His infinite love for myself and for those four young people. His grace is that part that made it so that my heart could love them."
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