One of the greatest character traits a person can possess is forgiveness, especially when the bigger person in the situation is faced with prejudice and life-threatening harassment.
A Black couple from Michigan had to experience that firsthand when a 25-year-old white man shot at their home due to his anger over the Black Lives Matter sign in their window. Surprisingly enough, feelings in the courtroom during his sentencing were less of vengeance and more on the side of forgiveness.
As reported by Macomb Daily, both sides had a change of heart once all was said and done as the remorseful assailant, Michael Frederick, was given a four to 10-year sentence in prison after pleading no contest to all charges related to his September 2020 act of terrorism. Although Frederick apologized and admitted his wrongdoings in a written statement, it was the victims themselves, Candace and Eddie Hall, that impressed Judge Diane Druzinski the most, who stated during proceedings, “I’m in awe of your strength, wisdom and forgiveness,” and added, “I wish I was as good as people as you.”
Here’s a breakdown of how things played out in the courtroom that not only led to forgiveness but also a fist bump between the two opposing sides, via Macomb Daily:
“Mrs. Hall, 55, refrained from reading the written statement she prepared after her daughter said it made her sound angry.
‘I’m not angry, I’m not. I’m forgiving,’ she said, and turned to Frederick. ‘You’re a good kid and have a chance. You made a bad choice and we understand that. We have children ourselves. We’re not hateful people, we’re Christians.
‘With so much of the bad that happened, so much good came out of this because even though it was an evil, hateful act, it actually brought us – the neighborhood – together with love and comfort and compassion, even including his parents.’
The Halls wanted to embrace Frederick in court but were limited by the judge due to security concerns but were able to fist bump before she could object further.”
Husband Eddie Hall added his two cents of forgiveness as well, stating “There is no win-win,” before adding, “There is loss on both sides.”
Frederick pleaded in July to three counts of ethnic intimidation and two counts each of discharging a firearm at a building, felony firearm and malicious destruction of property for firing nine shots at the Halls’ home in Warren, slashing tires on their three vehicles plus vandalizing it with graffiti and a swastika.
For his actions towards the Halls, he regretfully said, “I think you guys are some great people and didn’t deserve this at all,” then expressed his changed outlook on life by adding, “I want to let you guys know that your prayers have been answered. I did find God while I was in jail…I’ve made my way through the Bible and I’m really a different person. I have a different heart, a different mind, a different spirit than I had in September. Sorry.”