"I forgive Anthony Warren. What he done to me was wrong," she said. "But I still forgive him."
Real forgiveness probably hurts a lot. It can make you cry. But ultimitately, "Doing the right thing makes you happy."
This is the wisdom of 5 year old Kai Leigh Harriott who was paralyzed from her chest down 3 years ago when Anthony Warren fired a gun at the house where Kai Leigh was sitting on the porch. That bullet shattered Kai Leigh's spine. Warren pleaded guilty yesterday and was sentenced to 13-15 years in prison. It was during these court proceedings that Kai Leigh spoke her words of forgiveness to the man who shot her.
At 5 years old, a lot of what Kai Leigh knows about forgiveness she learned from her mom, who not only spoke gently with Anthony Warren in the courtroom, but actually embraced him. She embraced the man who shot her little girl. How many of us could do that?
And if you watch video of Kai Leigh on the Boston Globe website, you can see something else there, something that comes from within her. She is strong. She is happy. She is not a victim. She is a five year old girl. And she bounces, smiles, and dances with all the energy that a five year old kid is supposed to have, a testimony of the unconquerable vigor of the human spirit, and of the mysterious power of forgiveness to transform lives.
You remember Jesus's response to the soldiers who executed him? He forgave them. That probably hurt. It may have even made him cry a little bit. But still he forgave them. Because it was the right thing to do. This week, a 5 year old girl in Boston understands that better than anyone.