Monday, December 10, 2007

Grace Greater Than Our Sin


Twenty-six years ago Tammi Smith (pictured) was a 15 year old grief stricken girl. Her half-brother, Robert Sellon, was brutally murdered by 17 year old twins, David and Michael Samel in a Grand Rapids, Michigan pool hall.

Michael was sentenced to 35-55 years in prison. David was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Soon after the killing Tammi went to the county jail where David was being held and cursed him for destroying her family.

Today, Tammi is an advocate for the release of David and Michael. What happened?

In short, Tammi became a follower of Christ. About 6 years ago it occurred to Tammi that Michael would be coming up for review with the possibility of parole. She wondered if he had changed so she wrote him a letter. Michael wrote back, and so did David.

A regular correspondence developed between the three of them including the sending of birthday cards and Christmas cards. Tammi, with the grace and power of God, had chosen to forgive her brother’s killers. God’s grace further enabled her to have friendship with the Samel twins.

When reading this story I was reminded of an old hymn, “Grace Greater Than Our Sin”. One verse of the hymn says,

“Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who
believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His
grace receive?"

Tammi received God’s grace and now bestows God’s grace. People think that she is crazy to forgive her brother’s killers. She thinks that she is simply responding to a work of grace that God is doing in her heart.

Tammi takes out and lays three pictures side by side, Robert Sellen along with David and Michael Samel. Tammi then asks people to pick out the one that is her brother.

Tammi then explains, “All three of them are. I may have lost one, but I gained two more.”

1 comment:

jill o said...

Wow, what a powerful story. That kind of forgiveness can only come from God's grace. It may seem that God goes to extremes to make sure we get it but I am grateful for Tammi's story.