I hate drugs and the horrible toll they take on people. They are truly a demonic force and cause nothing but heartache. We lost our 20-year-old daughter, Ashlynn, when she was given a lethal dose of fentanyl. She was a beautiful girl who loved the Lord. She was a great student and a high school cheerleader, but then she started experimenting with drugs. She began hanging around a different group of friends, her grades plummeted and she would show some concerning mood swings. It was a nightmare for everyone. We got her into a rehab program and after some time, we thought she had turned a corner. But her struggles continued. She was in and out of rehab. Then, we discovered she was hooked on heroin. One night in January 2016, she thought she bought some heroin, but her drug dealer gave her fentanyl instead. We grieve our loss and miss her beyond words can express. But we know she went to be with the Lord and was instantly healed and freed from her pain. The drug dealer who sold her the lethal dose had been previously convicted nine times. On this occasion, he was sentenced to 20 years without parole. We talked as a family before his trial, and determined we did not want him to hold us in bondage. We knew that Christ died for him, just like He did for you and for me. He is no less of a person in God’s eyes than the rest of us. So at his trial, we gave him a letter saying we had forgiven him. Forgiveness does not fix the horrible thing he did to our daughter. It does not reconcile that. But forgiveness does free us from the bondage some people experience. It will not hold us back on what we are determined to do in our lives. If we can show him the love of Christ, if we can be an example to him, then perhaps we can bring him to the Lord. Christ commands us to do that, with all people.
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