Forgiveness Demands that Justice be done

No words of mine can ever express the deep remorse and regret I feel for what I was involved in over a quarter of a century ago and for the unpardonable length of time it took me to find the courage and decency to confess my part in those crimes.

I shall forever carry the scars I sustained through the wounds I inflicted, whether in prison or outside.

But I do believe that God has forgiven me, and I try not so much to look at the past, but to the present and the future.

When Mrs Johnson, the mother of Keith Bennett, wrote to me in 1986, I was devastated by the first realisation of just how desperately those families of the children still missing were suffering.

Followed as this was, by what I believe was a purely coincidental visit by Greater Manchester Police, I knew that I had no choice for the sake of those families and my own peace of mind – even for my salvation – but to confront what I had done and confess, and to attempt some kind of reparation in addition to my imprisonment.

Whilst I still feel the pain of my guilt, I also know I cannot turn back the clock, and that I can do no more than I have already tried to do.

I am still in contact with the family who, in spite of what the media would have people believe, know that I will never cease to help them in any way I can.

I can only say that it is my hope that I will be treated with the same fairness and justice as would any other life sentence prisoner, however difficult.

Myra Hindley, who died 15/11/02 BBC

It’s hard to read these words without considering whether she is sincere. And for Christian theology it raises the fact that forgiveness, not just hers but ours too, can never be a violation of justice.

If there is not justice for the despicable crimes she committed, then forgiveness is sentimentality at best – an obscenity at worst.

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