Unforgiveness Is Like a Cancer: Member of Smith Family on Her Choice to Forgive

"Unforgiveness becomes cancer in the soul; it eats you from inside," says Lin Smith, a member of the Smith family who were tragically killed in the Khada Gorge in Georgia in July 2018. 

Lin Smith, the mother of Ryan Smith, has forgiven Malkhaz Kobauri, the shepherd convicted of the murder, in a letter sent from the US on October 1, 2018.

In the letter, she asked the convicted shepherd to pray more and to have more contact with the Lord.

However, she still wrestles with the very tough question about forgiving a murderer in her own life.

"The pain and anguish of losing a loved one is nearly unbearable, made all the more difficult when you have to look the murderer in the eyes afterwards. Unforgiveness becomes cancer in the soul and a decision must be made: Can I forgive the murderer?" she asks. 

In a video, Lin Smith speaks about the details of this tragic murder which claimed the lives of three members of a beautiful American family living in Georgia: 43-year-old Ryan Smith, his 42-year-old wife Laura Smith, and their 4-year-old son, Caleb. 

"The reason for Ryan and Caleb's murder was Laura. He wanted to rape her, what he did, and then drowned her," she notes. 

Naturally, it was the hardest part for her to accept the tragic destiny of each member of the family, especially to realize the horrific phrase "triple murder," found in the headlines of the news spread after the event. 

However, shortly after this horrific murder, she came across the choice of a lifetime: whether to let this anger and hate destroy her life and eat her alive from the inside, or to choose the path of the Lord and forgive the murderer "to be closer to Ryan and Laura." And she chose the path of forgiveness. 

"While praying, I felt that God wanted me to write a letter to the murderer and explain why I was forgiving him; for him to understand what forgiveness and closeness to the Lord mean," says Lin. 

"Malkhaz, you do not deserve Jesus’ forgiveness. I do not deserve Jesus’ forgiveness. No one deserves Jesus’ forgiveness. BUT God the Father, out of His incredible love for you and for me, sent His Son Jesus to Earth to live a sinless life so that Jesus would die on the cross to pay the full penalty for your sins and my sins. Accepting Jesus’ death for the payment of all your sins will allow you to experience God’s complete forgiveness, peace and hope, even in prison.

"That is why Ryan’s father, Byron, and I have chosen to FORGIVE YOU for murdering our wonderful son Ryan, our sweet, thoughtful daughter-in-love Lora, and our precious 4-year-old grandson Caleb. We do not want to live in the bondage of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred or ill will towards YOU. We have chosen to trust God to fill the huge hole in our hearts and to enable us to live with our pain and loss of Ryan, Lora and Caleb for many, many years to come," read the letter. 

Lin Smith notes that she is glad that she could forgive the murderer, forgive not only this terrible crime but the unbearable pain she and her husband have to live every day. 

"I'm thankful for the calmness and inner peace God has given me, because when you are filled with anger, you are like a volcano ready to explode. I'm thankful that I've learned how to forgive," she says. 

By Ana Dumbadze 

Watch the video.

Related Story: The Personal Letter Ryan Smith’s Mother Wrote to her Family’s Murderer

16 October 2020 11:20