Summary: The 1) Inquiry about forgiveness and then Jesus’ teaching about 2) The extent of God’s forgiveness of believers.
Kevin Davis says he will spend the next 25 years in prison because anything less would be a "horrible injustice" to Jennifer Teague, the young woman whom he admits to killing. Ms. Teague vanished as she walked home from visiting with friends on Sept. 8, 2005. Her body was found 10 days later in a wooded area by an off-duty police officer. Davis was charged with first-degree murder in June 2006 after announcing that he was responsible for the teen’s death during a bizarre, drug-induced episode nine months after the crime.
"I am extremely sorry and if I could do anything to bring Jennifer back I would do it in a heartbeat, even if it meant giving up my own life. I hope one day I can be forgiven," said Davis, speaking from behind a glass partition at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. Davis, who is scheduled to enter his guilty plea on Jan. 25, said he decided to plead guilty, in part, after watching Ms. Teague’s older brother, Kevin, struggle to control his emotions during the first few days of the preliminary hearing in November. "The look on his face. He looked so in pain, emotional pain. It just killed me," Davis said. "It really, really hurt me to see her brother in there." "I didn’t want to put the Teague family, or my family, through any more (crap). I am just trying to right a wrong." Ms. Teague’s brother, Carey, said yesterday he hopes Davis is truly sincere when he says he is sorry for what he has done. Mr. Teague said it doesn’t change the feelings of anger and hate he has toward him. "I think he deserves everything he gets," said Mr. Teague, who believes the first-degree murder conviction and life sentence is the appropriate outcome for killing his 18-year-old sister. "I don’t feel sorry for him at all. He is not the victim in this," said Mr. Teague, 22. Davis knows there is little he can say to the Teague family that can ease their pain. "’Sorry’ doesn’t even cut it," he said. "It would be nice to have their forgiveness, but it is not something I am expecting. I’m sorry. My heart goes out to them. Tell them to stay strong.".
Davis, who claims to be a born-again Christian, said he found God within his first week at the Innes Road jail. He described jail as a "rewarding" experience which has allowed him to find God and has helped to heal a fractured relationship with his mother. "I’ve developed into a better person. I’ve learned not to take for granted the freedoms we have on the outside," Davis said. "There was a lot missing in my life.
Without God, without my family, I would not be going through with this. God had been directing me to plead guilty, to take your punishment. "There are so many people who are cynical and [might] say he is putting on a show. It is completely genuine. While appearing candid and remorseful during the 20-minute interview, Davis would not say why he killed Ms. Teague. He did say that Ms. Teague’s death occurred in a "horrible, horrible moment of selfishness."
(Source: Andrew Seymour, Canwest News Service: Saturday, January 12, 2008
The story of this murder is striking. Except for one us that I know of, most of us can not imagine the pain of suddenly losing of love one and coming to grips with not only the reality of not seeing them again in this lifetime, but the details of the death. I don’t know the spiritual state of the Teague family, but what if they are Christians? How should they respond to the apparent repentance of the killer? What would God expect from the killer, victims families and society at large?
In dealing with personal offences, Matthew 18 is the pinnacle passage. Someone might then ask, “Why bother to go through the steps outlined in Matthew 18? Why go to an offender alone, then with one or two others, then take him to church? Why not just forgive, and let that be the end of it?”
• The answer is that just as there are stages in outward reconciliation specified in Matthew 18:15-20, there are stages in the administration of forgiveness.
• With what we saw last week in Rom. 5:8-“While we were still sinners” God took the initiative, so too are we in reconciliation.
o Even though we have the responsibility to take the initiative, we are not to forgive unless there is repentance: God took the initiative in extending forgiveness while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8) but requires repentance for forgiveness (Lk 13:3 as we will see)
What then does God expect of us when we are wronged or sin against another?
In verses 21-22 we first see Peter’s 1) Inquiry about forgiveness and then Jesus’ teaching about 2) The extent of God’s forgiveness of believers.