Forgiving the Man Who Killed Her Mother

Banning, CA, Record Gazette A California woman is offering forgiveness to the man who shot and killed her mother 22 years ago when he was high on crack cocaine.

Becky Johnson, who was 16 at the time of her mother’s death, responded to the tragedy by turning to the streets: she joined a gang; she started dealing and doing drugs; she would rob people for money to get more drugs. She admittedly had no regard for people, or for human life.

“I was trying to find peace in alcohol, in drugs, in gangs. I didn’t find it,” Johnson says. What she did eventually find, however, was a charismatic pastor, Dolores Nesbit. Pastor Nesbit helped Johnson find compassion, and encouraged her to forgive those who have wronged her–particularly the man who killed her mother.

“Over the years, I’ve done so many things out of hate,” Johnson says. “Now, I myself need to be forgiven. And the first step is to forgive the man that killed my mother. I’m tired of living this monstrous story. I’ve learned so much through my church: how to forgive; if you don’t do that, then, the Book of Mark says, you’ll block your own blessings.”

Over the past few years, Johnson turned her life around. She married. She’s now a licensed massage therapist, and she’s training for the ministry, planning to take her story of forgiveness and share her message with people around the world. As far as the man who killed her mother, Johnson says he will likely be released from prison within the year and she intends to be there to greet him with open arms.

Becky Johnson’s mother, Clara, was remembered as a woman who loved everyone and who had no known enemies. Who would want to kill her? When Becky discovered four days after her mother’s murder that both her mother and the killer were high on crack cocaine the night Clara was killed, she had a complete breakdown. After years on the street and succumbing to drugs herself, Becky straightened out her life and credits her ability to forgive for the turnaround.

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