Duane and Cindy Mullett were friends of Marcus Kaufman, who was shot at his home in N.C. on Dec. 2, 2013. I asked Cindy’s permission to reprint her [heavily edited] blog of the sentencing.
Last week, we sat in a cold, oppressive courtroom. Hushed words were spoken and little emotion was shown on the solemn faces of attorneys and investigators. The defendant’s family members sat on the front rows on the right side of the room. We sat on the left side, supporting the widowed spouse, her grieving parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters and close friends of the deceased victim–a young man; a fireman and soon-to-be first time father. He was senselessly murdered two years ago.
The young man in an orange jumpsuit was escorted into the room, hands and feet in shackles. I saw an elderly woman (the grandmother of the defendant?) wiping tears. Then we heard the deep, heart-wrenching cry, “Oh, my baby!” as the judge said, “Life in prison plus 360 months…”
It’s the same deep agonizing cry Marcus’s parents and family have also been living with, and it was the same cry that became my companion when our son unexpectedly died five years ago. But the cry I heard in the courtroom was different. There are some things harder to live with than death. I wonder if Khari McClelland ever thought about what his choice(s) would do to his mother? To his family? To the Kaufmans? To himself?!
He’d made many other wrong choices prior to this. Choices to love himself and his drugs more than relationships and others’ lives. He’d chosen to think about himself and his wants more than his family.
That day in the cold court room, I saw a beautiful, breathtaking example of making the right choices. The parents and widow looked into the face of the murderer and said, “We forgive you. We’re praying you will find Jesus.”
They choose to forgive. This didn’t happen because they decided that morning to forgive him. And it wasn’t because they felt like forgiving him. No, it was because they had predetermined to think the thoughts that Jesus would think. And these thoughts led to this amazing act of forgiveness.
I was closely watching the others in the room. I saw the effect of those selfless, nearly impossible words spoken to the murderer: “We forgive you.” Investigators, detectives, as well as members of the defendant’s family, were wiping tears.
I pray that someday, Khari McClelland will understand the depth from which this came. We pray he will find the same faith and God’s forgiveness for the choices he’s made. Does he deserve it? No. But do any of us deserve God’s forgiveness?
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)
“If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matt. 6:14,15
To read Cindy’s original blog: www.themullettfamily.com