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. Robert Russell in his sermon entitled “Releasing Resentment” tells this story: “When I was at the Eddyville State Penitentiary several weeks ago, I learned about Paul Stevens. Paul Stevens’s daughter was stabbed to death by a neighbor in Evansville, Indiana, years ago. Paul spent nearly a decade tortured by the memory of his daughter’s killer.

“A year later, the memories proved so hard to bear that Stevens moved his family from Evansville to a new home near Dawson Springs, Kentucky. His daughter’s killer was released after seven years behind bars. Stevens’s hatred twisted his psyche. ‘At that time I wanted to see that man dead,’ Stevens said.

“In 1978, nine years after the murder, Stevens tried something radical. At a religious retreat, he finally grasped that his hate couldn’t restore his daughter. He vowed to overcome the tragedy and devote his time to working with violent criminals. Since that time, Stevens has spent two days each week working as a counselor and lay minister at a maximum security prison. He has come to call some of the 29 prisoners on death row his friends.

“I met one of those prisoners who said he could never have been led to Christ except by this man who had such compassionate understanding. Stevens said treating violent criminals as human beings has helped him lose his hatred and made him a happier person.

“If he could forgive that, you can forgive however you’ve been hurt.” [SOURCE: Robert Russell, “Releasing Resentment,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 136.]