Six Days…. Six Lives …. One Passion
“It’s au revoir, not goodbye”
Could you forgive the person who killed your son?
Interspersed with a video of the TV news item on the death of his son Steve, Robin gave an inspiring, personal and emotional account of the tragic events, the immediate aftermath press conference and funeral service and the subsequent years since as he was interviewed by the evangelist Roger Carswell.
Robin gave an account of his childhood where he recalled that singing in the choir and bell ringing came to an abrupt end one day when he was thrown out of Sunday School for tying the plaits of the girl in front of him to the arms of her chair. Robin admitted to not being perfect or always well behaved but he did come to faith and accept Jesus as his Saviour following the influence of his older sisters and then while attending a Crusaders camp when he was 13 years old.
Robin was very close to joining the Navy but an 11th hour rethink made him change his career choice and decided to apply to the Metropolitan Police. After training, where he faced some minor and humorous challenges to his faith, Robin started his career walking the beat of Soho, Brixton and Notting Hill. It was while in London that he met his future wife Chris, who was a nurse, and they had 3 children, Steve and two daughters.
Robin was Assistant Chief Constable of Manchester and then became Chief Constable of the Isle of Man. It was shortly after Robin retired that the tragic events in 2003 took place. Robin recounted the circumstances of the anti-terrorist operation that ended with the death of his son, Steve and the injury to a number of other officers. Steve was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal as his actions stopped the likely death of other officers.
The morning after the tragic events, a press conference had been arranged and Robin recalls that he was of course devastated at the personal loss and circumstances and that part way through the press conference one reporter asked him “what do you think of the man who killed your son?”. Robin told us how at that moment he stopped, took a moment to pray for God’s help and support and he then answered the reporter “I forgive him because God can forgive him”. Robin admitted that “in my own human strength I couldn’t forgive, but it’s in God’s strength that I can forgive him, it’s not in my own”.
Nine years after these events the emotion of recalling this tragedy are still evident but so is Robin’s faith. “I long for that man [the Al Qaeda terrorist] to become a Christian, I’ve been forgiven for so many things that I know that God can reach into this man’s heart, even the heart of a terrorist. The worst of sinners can be saved and the Bible tells us that the wicked should turn from their ways and turn to God”
Robin knows with the absolute certainty of his faith that it was just “au revoir” to his son Steve, because he has no doubt whatsoever that he will be reunited with his son in Heaven. With the assurance of God’s promises and the death and resurrection of Jesus paying the price of our sins, Robin is so encouraged to know that he will eventually be in heaven with His Saviour and his son Steve.
Robin’s story and testimony is also available to listen to from this website.
Thursday 5th was the third of the six inspirational guest speakers at the Passion for Life event and wonderfully illustrated how coming to know Jesus transforms lives. Other speakers this week include;