A Change of Heart

Since I was hit by a drunk driver (click here to get caught up in the story), we had to go through a criminal trial against, Mr. Vancil, the man who hit me and my sister. This meant seeing him–which I wasn’t sure how I would handle.

Now mind you, “a speedy trial” doesn’t really exist. We didn’t have our first court hearing until about a year after the accident. Mr. Vancil wasn’t even arrested until a few months after the accident. There was a warrant out for his arrest, but nobody really did anything about it. Because when you live in a town of 1,600 people, there are a lot more pressing police matters I suppose.

My mom was getting quite frustrated with the whole situation and told anybody who would listen–including her hair dresser–who’s husband happened to be with the highway patrol or something. So he went out the next day and arrested the guy.

The day finally came for us to go to court and see Mr. Vancil for the first time. The bailiff was really nice, and told us that if he even looked at us in a way we didn’t like, she would take care of it.

Once the arraignment started, they brought him in, and there was no remorse on his face. In fact it was quite the opposite, he acted like he didn’t even care and his family gave us looks like we were the ones putting him through a horrible ordeal by pressing charges.

I was not expecting that. I don’t know what I was expecting, but for the man who caused me and my family such pain not even to care, was not it.

I never really had an issue with forgiving the man until I saw that he didn’t care.

How can I forgive this guy now, God? He’s making me feel like I was the bad guy or something!

Sitting in that courtroom, God reminded me of a verse I’d memorized long ago.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ~ Romans 5:8

I was overwhelmed not with anger towards Mr. Vancil, but with amazing wonder at my God who died for me while I was still his enemy. What love!

In that moment, God freed me from any bitter feelings and reminded me of his great love and mercy.

It still hurt that Mr. Vancil didn’t care how much pain he’d caused, but God opened my eyes, and I saw a man who had no hope and who had spent a life time chasing after things that don’t fulfill (he was in his late 40s and the his collision with me and my sister was his sixth drunk driving offense). I pray that one day he’ll know only God can fulfill our deepest longings and satisfy our soul.

But me, I have hope! I’m gloriously forgiven, so I can, by God’s grace, forgive.


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