The man who suffered one of the greatest losses in the Sevier County wildfires has a message of faith and forgiveness for the juveniles charged with starting the fire.
Michael Reed's desperate search for his wife and two daughters after fire destroyed their Gatlinburg home captured hearts across the country. Sadly, his wife, Constance, and daughters, Chloe and Lily, did not survive.
He and his son, who had driven into Gatlinburg that evening and couldn't get back to the rest of the family, are facing life with three missing pieces.
Two juveniles are now charged with aggravated arson for starting the fire along the Chimney Tops trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that spread into Gatlinburg and beyond, destroying hundreds of home and killing 14 people.
But Michael Reed forgives them. In an open letter on his Facebook page, he wrote, "As humans, it is sometimes hard to show grace. We hold grudges. We stay angry. We point the finger and feel we have to lay the blame somewhere. It's human nature and completely understandable. But I did not raise my children to live with hate. I did not teach my girls or my son to point the finger at others. John 8:7 says "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."
He goes on to say: "Forgiveness isn't for you. It is for me. It is for my son. It is for Constance, Chloe, and Lily. It is for this community who all lost so much in this tragedy. I, as well as countless others, have been changed forever because of your actions. It is up to you to seek God's forgiveness. I hope someday you can seek it and be at peace. I forgive you. My son forgives you. My wife and beautiful girls forgive you. We know you didn't mean for this to happen. We know you would take it all back if you could."
Reed closes by saying that he is praying for the juveniles, and their families, every day, because "that's what Jesus would do."
Sunday, August 20 2017 3:11 PM EDT2017-08-20 19:11:20 GMT
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