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April 23, 2007

Hallmark of a Christian

Crossroads Last night, CBS aired another Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. While these are usually good tear-jerkers, last night's was especially poignant because it featured a real-life story.

Bruce Murakami lost his wife and daughter in a car accident caused by street-racing teens. Initially Bruce could think of nothing but clearing the name of his wife, who had been blamed for pulling out into traffic and causing the accident. But once he found out the truth and met the young man who had killed his family, Bruce eventually realized that the only way to deal with his intense grief was to forgive this boy. To the astonishment of many, Bruce asked that Justin be spared a prison sentence; instead, he asked that Justin face house arrest and be required to work with Bruce to educate teens on the dangers of street racing.

What could possibly motivate someone to forgive like this? Only God, of course. Bruce tells his story on the Hallmark web site and gives full credit to his faith and God's Word for bringing him to a point of forgiveness and reconciliation.

What Bruce did for Justin, and what he does for other teen offenders and their victims, is an example of restorative justice. Based on biblical principles, restorative justice seeks to restore victims and offenders, mete out appropriate and relevant justice, and provide a way for the community to experience peace and safety. You can read more about how Prison Fellowship is involved in restorative justice here.

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That's wonderful what Bruce did because Justin, a teen who loves fast cars and is reckless, would have been thrown in with drug dealers and addicts, killers, robbers, and sexual offenders and would have only learned how to be bad. What Bruce did actually helped.

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