Robert Godwin Sr., a father and grandfather, was senselessly murdered on Easter by Steve Stephens, a man looking to randomly kill someone.
Godwin was heading home after celebrating an Easter meal with family when he was confronted by Stephens.
“Here’s somebody I’m about to kill. I’m about to kill this guy right here. An old dude” Stephens says on camera, before approaching Godwin. He then callously murdered Godwin in cold blood on video and shared the video on Facebook.
In the face of this senseless tragedy, three of Godwin’s children gave an interview to CNN that was an amazingly powerful testament to both their father and the Christian faith he instilled in them.
Tonya Godwin Baines explained to Anderson Cooper what their dad taught them about faith:
“The thing I would take away most from my father is he taught us about God, how to fear God, how to love God and how to forgive. Each one of us forgive the killer, the murderer, we want to wrap our arms around him.”
“You do?” Cooper replied, appearing almost schocked by the sentiment. Tonya’s sister continued:
“We absolutely do. I honestly can say right now I hold no animosity towards this man because I know that he’s a sick individual… I promise you I could not do that (forgive) if I didn’t know God, if I didn’t know him as my God and my Savior. I could not forgive that man. And I feel no animosity against him at all. I actually feel sadness in my heart for this man.”
Tonya then turned away from their own grief and talked about the other family involved, the killer’s family, and lamented the loss they will be going through.
“We lost our dad but this mother lost her son, his children lost their dad–”
“That’s incredible that you’re thinking about them, even in your time our grief,” said Cooper.
“It’s just what our parents taught us. It wasn’t that they just taught it, they didn’t just talk it, they lived it. People would do things to us and we would say ‘Dad, are you really going to forgive them, really?’ and he would say ‘yes, we have to.’ My dad would be really proud of us, and he would want this from us. He would say, Tonya, forgive them, because they know not what they do.” replied Tonya.
May God receive the soul of Robert Godwin Sr., give strength and peace to his family, and have mercy on his killer.