I have one sibling; a brother, Eric Lee Franks. He has been missing for over three years. There is an ongoing murder investigation that has drained our family in ways I can only begin to describe.
Here is what I would like to say to his murderer.
Do you know you’re more than a murderer? You are also a thief. You took things that were not yours to take.
You stole my brother’s life.
You’ve stolen rest from my mother.
From countless people you have stolen a friend.
From my husband you stole his only brother-in-law; from my children, their uncle.
Opportunity is what you stole from me. You see, at the time you took my brother’s life, he and I had not spoken for almost two years. From me, you stole the hope of reconciliation.
You are a murderer and a thief. You have taken things that were not yours to take; things that can never be returned.
For three years my brother has remained in the grave you made for him. A grave that we cannot go visit, a grave that we cannot adorn with flowers, a grave we do not how to find.
You walk free, feeling sunshine on your face, enjoying the change in seasons and celebrating holidays. You live, while my brother and pieces of those who knew him do not.
I want you to know two things.
I forgive you.
I forgive you because I have been forgiven. God forgave me of my sins before I ever asked and I extend that same grace to you.
I pray for you.
In my Bible I have written, “It is a great thing to talk to man about God, but an even greater thing to talk to God about man.”
When I read this, I often think of you. I doubt I will ever have the opportunity to talk to you about God. But, that’s okay. Because I have every opportunity to talk to God about you; and I do.
I talk to God about you because He knows who you are.
You may think no one knows when you killed Eric, how you killed him and where you laid his body to rest. But, you’re wrong. My God knows. You may hide your sin in the darkness, but darkness isn’t dark to God. He saw you then and He sees you now.
I want you to know that when I talk to God about you, I don’t ask God to strike you down and punish you for your crime. I ask God to soften your heart. I ask God to save you.
There are many things over the years I have wanted to say to you, if given the chance. But, it all boils down to this. You are a murderer and a thief. You have taken things that were not yours to take; things that cannot be returned. But, even so, I forgive you.
I pray that God takes from you the life that you now live and gives you new life in Him. I pray, in exchange for the brother you took from me, that you will be made my brother in Christ. I pray, whether or not you face your earthly punishment, that I can stand next to you one day, rejoicing in Heaven; basking in the grace and forgiveness that none of us deserve.