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New York Man Forgives, Befriends Brother's Killer

The CNN BeliefBlog told the story of a New York man who struggled for years after his brother was shot 13 times in East Harlem. Anthony Colon told CNN the death of his brother “put so much hate in my life. I hated everybody. I hated everything. It made me to be a person, like a monster.” 

But as the years passed, Colon married, had children and became religious. In the process he began to look for the opportunity for reconciliation with his brother’s killer, saying “I just wanted it to be OK.”

During a visit with a friend the Eastern Correctional Facility in Ulster County, New York, he happened upon one of his brother’s killers, Michael Rowe, who tried to hide from Colon. But Colon went up to Rowe and said, “Brother, I’ve been praying for you. I forgave you. I’ve been praying I would see you again.”

Over time, Rowe and Colon became friends. Colon visited Rowe regularly, who was inspired to study while in prison and obtain a bachelor’s degree. Colon credits his religion for his ability to forgive Rowe.

“For some reason I felt that he was dealing with all that he was dealing with. Like condemnation. Self-pity. Just like this hovering darkness that was around. I felt that, when people think that’s strange, but it’s just the part of the nature of a person that’s closely connected to God. There’s a connection with God that can allow you to see past what’s in front of you,” he said.

Rowe was released this week after completing his 20-year sentence. Colon continues to assist him in adjusting to his new life.

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Toni Ridgaway is a content editor for the Outreach Web Network, including churchleaders.com and SermonCentral.com.