“The thing I would take away most from our father is that he taught us about God: how to fear God, how to love God and how to forgive.” — Tonya Godwin-Baines
News Staff : Apr 18, 2017 : CBN News
(Cleveland, OH) — [CBN News] The children of the 74-year-old Cleveland man who was gunned down in a Facebook LIVE video over the weekend are forgiving their father’s killer. (Screengrab via CBN News)
Described as a gentle, God-fearing man with gray hair, Robert Godwin Sr. was out for a stroll on Easter Sunday, collecting cans, when his life was abruptly ended.
“We called him the junk man,” his daughter, Debbie Godwin, 52, told The Associated Press. “He’d pick up things off the street and fix them. He picked up bikes and he fixed them.”
Godwin, a retired foundry worker, was the father of 10 children, six girls and four boys. His children say he took them to church every Sunday.
Despite being wracked with grief and anger over the tragic loss of their father, Godwin’s children are honoring his memory by extending grace to his murderer.
“The thing I would take away most from our father is that he taught us about God: how to fear God, how to love God and how to forgive,” Tonya Godwin-Baines, another one of Godwin’s daughters, told CNN Monday. (Screengrab via CBN News)
“We just want him to know that God loves him,” she said. “We love him. Yes, we are hurt, but we have to forgive him because if we don’t forgive him, the Bible says your heavenly Father won’t forgive you.”
Robert Godwin Jr. echoed that sentiment, saying, “I forgive you, man. I’m not happy what you did, but I forgive you.”
Meanwhile, Godwin’s killer, 37-year-old Steve Stephens, is on the run. Police have offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Godwin Jr. made it clear he didn’t want Stephens dead, telling The Washington Post that his fate was “up to God.”
“If you’re out there turn yourself in,” he said. “You’ve done enough damage. Just turn yourself in.”