Jennifer Hudson has done something most of us could never do. The star has forgiven the man who savagely murdered her mother, brother, and 7-year-old her nephew.
It sends chills down my spine to think that she once called the killer, William Balfour, family. Though, Jennifer, who shared her grief on the September 9 episode of Oprah's Next Chapter, didn't have an ounce of the hate or rage you would expect. Quite the contrary, she felt sorry for her former brother-in-law, who she learned had been raised in the worst of environments. It was the kind of pity and compassion that only comes from being a mother herself.
A month after Balfour was convicted of the murders, she revealed to Oprah Winfrey why she forgave this man who devastated -- and nearly decimated -- her family.
I feel like, for the most part, it's not his fault. It's what he was taught. How was brought up. We tried to offer love, but he was so far gone, he couldn't even see that. A lot of things came out [during the trial] that we didn't even know about from his upbringing ... He never had a chance. He never had a chance. Had he had the love that my mother gave us, or the background that some have, then he would have stood a chance. How could your heart not go out to that?
Astonishing, isn't it? A lot of people would not be able to find it in their heart to see that side of things. But I think being a mother can profoundly change the way you see the world and, more importantly, the way the world impacts children. Now mom to son David, Jr., Jennifer experiences first-hand how susceptible children are to negative environments and the impact a loveless home can have on a fragile, young mind.
That is something we all can understand as parents. Children are not born bad, they are made that way. Sometimes it's through the fault of a parent or caregiver and sometimes there are other influences that surround them. Either way, you can't help but feel bad for someone who has had a hard life just because of the luck -- or rather bad luck -- of being born into certain families or neighborhoods. Every child deserves a chance at a good life, though clearly not every child gets one.
That said, a harsh upbringing is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. There are many more people who endure the same experiences without turning to murder. I am a strong believer that if you do the crime, you do the time. Though, that doesn't mean we can't look at criminals, even the most vicious ones, as people too. No mother wants this kind of outcome for her child. We all know this. We all understand this. And as moms, there will always be a part of us that can see the child that once was. That is what allows us to empathise with the most unforgivable of monsters.
Watch a clip of Jennifer's interview:
Are you surprised Jennifer Hudson was able to forgive the man who murdered her family members?