This Is The Most Powerful Image You Will See All Week

The family of a car accident victim forgives the drunk-driving teen who killed their son

  • Justin Zoradi

From the NY Daily News & The Huffington Post. Photo Credit, Chris Clark, Grand Rapids Press.

On May 20th, 18 year-old Takunda Mavima was driving home from a party when he lost control and crashed his car into an off-ramp near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Riding in the car were 17 year-old Tim See and 15 year-old Krysta Howell. Both were killed in the accident. Takunda Mavima lived.

Last week, Mavima pleaded guilty to all charges and was sentenced to between 30 months and 15 years in prison.

Despite their unimaginable grief and anger, both the sister and the father of victim Tim See gave a moving address to the court on behalf of Mavima, urging the judge to give him a light sentence.

"I am begging you to let Takunda Mavima make something of himself in the real world -- don't send him to prison and get hard and bitter, that boy has learned his lesson a thousand times over and he'll never make the same mistake again."

And when the hearing ended, the victim's family made their way across the courtroom to embrace, console, and publicly forgive Mavima.

Make sure this image sticks with you forever.

There will be a time in your life when someone will wrong you. God forbid they take the life of your child. But it will happen. And what matters most isn't how it happened, but how you respond to it.

Prepare yourself now, with a clear plan of action to forgive in the darkest of times. (CLICK TO TWEET)

And if you're a person of faith, the calling is even greater. The gospel of forgiveness isn't a high calling for the heroic individual, or a counter-cultural description of heavenly perfection. It is a principle central to the gospel itself - the very heart of our faith in which we are called to embody.

In the swelling sea of human destruction, the little story of Takunda Mavima and a family from Michigan is a lighthouse on a hill, a beacon of hope, guiding the way for all our ships to pass through.

- JZ

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Comments (29)

  • David Sanford

    David Sanford

    05 October 2012 at 02:49 |
    Forgive the unforgivable? Impossible?
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      05 October 2012 at 04:50 |
      Thanks for commenting David!
  • Tania


    05 October 2012 at 03:50 |
    What a powerful story of a redeemed tragedy. Thank you
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      05 October 2012 at 04:51 |
      Thanks Tania
  • Chris Cameron

    Chris Cameron

    05 October 2012 at 05:01 |
    There are only a few options when dealt a great wrong. Revenge makes for satisfying movies, but in reality it births a non-stop cycle of violence. To embrace the incredible and unending pain of the wrong and give unconditional forgiveness is the way of Jesus, and the ONLY way to peace. These families will always feel grief and loss - and that is the price true peacemakers pay to bring the kingdom of God nearer.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      05 October 2012 at 05:56 |
      Beautifully said Chris. Thank you!
  • Caleb


    05 October 2012 at 19:50 |
    I myself have lost a friend who was the victim of drunk driving. Although he was not behind the wheel, he did stand a little responsibility in that he got in the car with a drunk driver. Even though the driver was seen on FB in drunken party pictures, holding bottles of alcohol, His mom pleaded with the court for a light sentence; essentially the exact same message as the See family, which I think is beautiful and forgiveness in its purest, deepest form. It embodies the forgiveness that God provides us should we but come forward and request it. HOWEVER, how to manage drunk driving and broken laws that result in life being snatched away from us? Responsibly managing something from a communal, social perspective, in attempting to prevent similar tragedies from happening again is what court officials are called to do. This, while also providing justice for somebody who made a terrible mistake that resulted in a loss of life. I just don't know. When a child breaks an important rule laid down by his/her parents, (say crossing the street without looking both ways for cars), do those loving, caring, concerned parents send a message of "oh, you crossed the street without looking but are REALLY sorry, so I won't discipline you." Or should that parent provide a stout deterrent in the form of discipline, teaching the child that there are consequences that come from actions? What's the best form of protection? Will it take the child seeing a friend hit by a car to fully understand? There is a danger in providing too much mercy. It lacks punch, authority, and allows for manipulation and deception. Not to say that this is what happened in the story above. I just wonder how a court should deal with cases such as these. It's a fragile thing.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      05 October 2012 at 19:53 |
      Powerful comment Caleb. Thank you.
  • Caleb


    05 October 2012 at 19:53 |
    *pics posted on FB by driver were only weeks after the DUI crash that resulted in my friend dieing. It was almost as if she didn't care.
  • Caleb


    05 October 2012 at 19:54 |
    *I can't spell #dying
  • Kayla Aldrich

    Kayla Aldrich

    06 October 2012 at 17:45 |
    Thanks Justin, this is an awesome article! While not directly said, it seems as though this father forgave Takunda Mavima. I fear so many people forget the power of forgiveness. As David Sanford said, "forgive the unforgivable?" And having been in that situation, it seems impossible, but once forgiven, the Lord's peace in you is overwhelming toward that person. Pain and hurt don't go away, but anger and hostility are removed. And only the impossible to forgive are forgiven with God's grace, not our own.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      06 October 2012 at 20:33 |
      Thanks Kayla. Appreciate you reading and commenting! Your insight is very helpful.
  • Larry J Rutledge

    Larry J Rutledge

    08 October 2012 at 18:31 |
    We have been called to forgiveness, with the first example coming from our own forgiveness. We have repeatedly taken God's son from Him by our various choices. Every time we sin it represents why Jesus went to the cross, and why God should never care one bit what happens to us.

    He create the universe and all that is in it, simply for our pleasure. He wanted to commune with us and created a world of wonder and beauty and abundance simply because He loved us. Our response ... we spat in His face and followed the first created thing to come along with a dissenting idea.

    Unconditional love ... that love which looks at the person who deserves it the least and says, "I Love You Anyway". That is what God has modeled to us, and what He expects from us.

    Does this mean that all sin should go unpunished ... gracious NO! Sin has consequence. Sin carries a measure of destruction. Will God forgive us every time we ask? Absolutely! Will He erase all the consequence of that sin. It's His choice, but it's not guaranteed either way.

    In this case, the driver was forgiven a terrible atrocity. So he got off scott-free, right? No .. he must live forever with the knowledge that his actions have taken the life of another human being and destroyed the lives of all who cared about that man.

    When King David took Bathsheba and had Urriah killed, then was confronted with his sin, he repented. Did God forgive him? Absolutely! But did the baby live ... no! Consequence of sin is great.

    The wages of sin is death ... BUT ... the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus!!

    Let us learn from our Lord and be creatures of forgiveness and love. But never think that gives you license to sin without consequence.

    Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God!!
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      08 October 2012 at 18:41 |
      Thanks for your comments Larry! Powerful stuff.
  • Marc Alan Schelske

    Marc Alan Schelske

    08 October 2012 at 19:52 |
    Hey Justin, thanks so much for sharing this. I hadn't come across this in the news, and it's a powerful story. I used it as a central piece in my message this weekend about the core purpose of the church, and will blog about that aspect later this week. So, thanks for sharing it. It gave me a lot to chew on this week.

    Here's the message, if you are interested: http://youtu.be/dOdTO1m5BxM
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      08 October 2012 at 21:38 |

      Watched your sermon. Wow. You nailed this. So impressed the way you dove much deeper into that story and then used it as a segue into the reason for the Church. I'm honored you would use it.
      • Marc Alan Schelske

        Marc Alan Schelske

        09 October 2012 at 03:47 |
        Glad to use it. I'm always on the hunt for powerful, emotive stories that can cut through all the explanation and get right to the heart of something. Thanks for the encouragement.

        For me the idea of reconciliation is at the core of everything the church is meant to be. It's not just about personal forgiveness of someone who violates me. It's the heart that leads to the kinds of justice work that you are involved in. Justice in all it's forms is an effort to reconcile a broken and alienated world to God's heart and way.

        I think that's the direction of the blog post I'm working on. We'll see. :-)
        • Justin Zoradi

          Justin Zoradi

          09 October 2012 at 04:36 |
          Love it Marc. Thank you. Love to see the new blog when it's ready.
  • Wim Laven

    Wim Laven

    09 October 2012 at 04:10 |
    This is a fantastic ending to a tragic story, thanks for sharing it. In response to some of the comments, and possibly as a suggestion for a future blog, I suggest you take a look at Eva Mozes Kor's story and work, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwvbtuIz6Hs&noredirect=1 , if she can forgive it is possible for anyone.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      09 October 2012 at 04:38 |
      Thanks for reading and commenting Wim. This is really thought provoking stuff. Really appreciate this. Hope you are well!
  • John Brubaker

    John Brubaker

    09 October 2012 at 04:39 |
    What a profound situation. I don't think I would be capable of forgiving that kid. I don't think it would even occur to me. But maybe that capability is what should be strived for.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      09 October 2012 at 04:57 |
      Thanks Brubaker. Such a tough thing. And you're right, this is what we should strive for.
  • Marc Alan Schelske

    Marc Alan Schelske

    12 October 2012 at 06:47 |
    Hey Justin, here's the blog post. I'd love your thoughts.

  • Tim McCormick

    Tim McCormick

    13 October 2012 at 06:40 |
    That's a good post, Justin, thank you. Reminds me of my pastor who says how horrible of a business man God would is; He gives all of his love all of the time and gets rejected in return. But He doesn't stop giving and we don't stop taking and somehow He is cool with that :)
  • Arlen Miller

    Arlen Miller

    02 September 2013 at 18:08 |
    Pow-pow-powerful! Oh, yes. Thanks, Justin.
    • Justin Zoradi

      Justin Zoradi

      02 September 2013 at 18:47 |
      Thanks for reading Arlen! Glad you're enjoying these.
  • Sonique Louise Mathis-Watson

    Sonique Louise Mathis-Watson

    04 December 2013 at 20:53 |
    The Power Of God. Very touching. I literally just had to wipe away a tear. Beautiful content and writing. Justin, I absolutely adore your blog. God bless you. Take care my friend.
  • Paula Thomas

    Paula Thomas

    14 December 2015 at 11:21 |
    I am very grateful that the majority of people in this world are evolving! One Love
  • Adidas Performance Donne

    Adidas Performance Donne

    29 June 2018 at 00:24 |
    Yes, thread, stagnant

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