Kim Book’s 17-year-old daughter, Nicole, was murdered in 1995. She recalls that a year later, at the trial, she forgave the young man who had killed Nicole, and the act of forgiveness opened the door to peace in her life. Several years later, Kim founded Victims’ Voices Heard, a restorative justice program in Delaware that brings victims and offenders together in an effort to find healing for all parties.
“I surrendered, I forgave, and then I had peace.”
I have never been angry with Lavan and I can’t explain that to you except to tell you that the day that Nicole was murdered and I surrendered my life and said, ‘God, you’ve gotta take this,’ God reached in and plucked that from me. He plucked that out. I’ve been very very hurt and have of course grieved, but have not had anger towards Lavan.
I wanted his mother to know that, because as a mother I thought, how is she going to perceive me? She’s going be sitting in the courtroom and think that I’m angry with her and I just didn’t want all that. I thought, anger was what created this situation in the first place. So I decided that I was going to make it a point to look at her and smile at her, to let her know I was ok.
I did that as I was walking out at a recess and she smiled back at me.
Kim Book full podcast:
APOMM discussion questions:
- How are forgiveness and peace related?
- How do you think you’d react if you were in Kim’s situation?
- What does forgiveness look like in action? How does one truly forgive another?
- How does your faith inform your thoughts about forgiveness?
- What comes to mind when you hear “restorative justice?” How does this correspond to/differ from your thinking about “justice?”
- In what ways has forgiveness been a part of your life? Is it a way for you to move forward after being wronged as Kim discusses or has it meant something different to you? Is forgiveness primarily for you or the other person(s) involved?
- How do you help others around you find peace? How have those around you helped you find peace?