On this day seven years ago I found out that my parent’s lives were taken by a drunk driver.
On this day one year ago I wrote a letter to the man who killed my parents.
Now on this day, seven years later, one year later, I’m sharing the response that I received from him. I have to say, it was not at all what I expected. I honestly didn’t really expect a response at all. But the one that I received absolutely blew my mind.
He gave me permission to share it with all of you but, for some unknown reason, I haven’t really wanted to, until now.
As I read this letter again, I’m once again overcome with thankfulness to God for the way that He works everything, including pain and tragedy, for good to fulfill His plans. Is there anything more humbling than knowing that God is at work in your life? I don’t share this in hopes that you will think I’m wonderful or righteous, I share this in hopes that you will be inspired to forgive those who don’t deserve it, to Love no matter what, and to obey God no matter how difficult or strange His requests may seem.
So here it is, a year later, A letter from the man who killed my parents:
Aug. 19th, 2016
Dear Bethany Boynton,
On July 12th I received your letter/blog and after reading your words my life is forever changed! Prison is not a place to cry but I could not hold back my tears. I bawled. You have now started my road to forgiving myself, which has been something I never thought would be possible until now. For that, I am truly thankful from the bottom of my heart! When I woke up at the hospital and learned what I’d caused, I prayed for your family and for forgiveness from God and some day your family too. Before receiving your letter I hadn’t even been able to fathom ever being able to forgive myself. Everything you said in your blog was the absolute truth. It was because of my own selfishness, recklessness, and horrible choices that we’re here today. I am truly sorry for causing you and your family all the hurt and pain and sorrow I’ve caused. I have accepted full responsibility for my actions and carried a ton of guilt from day one. But to hear that you don’t hate me, don’t blame me, and forgive me is such a blessing that can only be from the love and grace of God and lots of answered prayer!
Laying there in the hospital at first I was VERY angry with God for letting me live and taking your parents. I prayed hard for His answer and, after speaking with my Pastor and family back then, I too believe God allowed this to happen with a divine purpose in mind. I’ve battled with this answer because your dear parents lived their lives revolved around God and I ran from Him and only called on Him when things went wrong and I needed Him. But I truly believe He has a plan for the rest of my life doing something in His kingdom. All my life I’ve been a leader that really enjoys helping others. So I pray it’s His will for me to help other people and families to not go through what I’ve put our families and loved ones through.
Growing up I was involved in Church and knew about God but I didn’t truly know God. I’ve run from Him every chance and that is a big regret in my life today. He has always put people in my life to lead me back to Him but I’d live for Him until I thought I had my life in control and then I’d turn my back on Him. On January 25th, 2006 I got saved and for the first time in my life, I developed a real personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For the next three years, I lived for Him and my life was absolutely amazing until I began living for me instead of Him. In April of 2010, I decided I would start living for God again but I wasn’t honest with myself. I told myself I could still drink every now and then but, on July 9th, 2010 God showed me that I was wrong and it was all or nothing, I couldn’t be a part-time follower.
In the months prior to the wreck I started seeing blessings and I thought I was about to figure out His plan for my life. Great business opportunities gave me hope that I could fully recover from the 2008 and 2009 economic collapse that destroyed both of my businesses, but man was I wrong again. God has tried over and over to get my full attention and I’m so, so sorry it took this for that to happen. I made my choice then, that I’d live the rest of my life for Him. It is extremely difficult to do that in prison but I’m a work in progress.
God is not only my Father, He is also my friend that I talk with all the time. On January 7, 2013, I was baptized here at our chapel for the first time in my life. In NO way am I living perfectly at all, but I am learning to be a little better every day. My current life is very tough for me and I’m striving to change all of my old ways of thinking to live right for Him. In order for me to truly honor your parents, I have to be 100% ALL in with God and I’m working hard to do just that. Prison is the hardest place in the world to live and I’m taking advantage every opportunity I can to better my life and I hope to make everybody I’ve let down in my life proud of me one day.
Also, I want you to know some things about my daughter. She is almost thirteen now and I’m very proud to say she is very involved with her church and she is a true believer who also has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Her mother and I have taught her about God all of her life and her and I talk a lot about God and His Word. We’ve done multiple Bible studies together and on our own over the past six years. My mother is up there looking down, smiling at me for teaching Allie all of the morals and beliefs that she taught my brothers and me. She is very busy with school, cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics. She seems to be doing great considering everything and as she gets older she’s starting to open up more and more with me. I sent her a copy of your letter and blog and she said, “Daddy, she is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and I read most of her blogs and she is amazing. I pray God makes me like her when I am her age and she is beautiful too.” I asked her if she was in your shoes could she totally forgive me as you have, she said, ‘You taught me to pray for God to forgive me of my sins and forgive those who sin against me, so I’d have to. But, she is so brave for doing what she did and I’m so happy for you, Daddy.” After we hung up I got to thinking about it and I totally agree with her. You are very, very BRAVE for reaching out to me like you have for the world to see. I too pray that God makes her life you when she is your age!
So Bethany, your family, and your followers, I want all of you to know that I’ve always accepted full responsibility for my actions and carried tons of guilt and grief with me. I have run into His arms. I have accepted forgiveness from God. I have accepted forgiveness from you. And now, with your help, I am working on being able to forgive myself. I truly want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all of your words, for reaching out to me, for not hating me, for forgiving me, and for continuing living your life for God as your dear parents lived their lives.
Sincerely your Brother in Christ,
Brett — —