‘A Time to Forgive’

August 12, 2015 | Katelyn Swager

Monday, June 17, 1996, began as a beautiful, sunny day in College Place, Wash., for Darold and Barbara Bigger.

Darold worked in his office in the Theology department at what was then Walla Walla College, preparing to fill in as dean of the School of Theology for the summer. His work was interrupted by the relentless ringing of the phone in his office. Upon answering, the voice of the college chaplain, John Cress, came through, insisting that Darold come to his office right away.

That morning in June, Cress shared the unbelievable news with Darold and Barbara that their 25-year-old daughter — Shannon — had been brutally murdered in her Maryland apartment.

Emotionless from the shock of the news, Darold and Barbara shared the news of Shannon’s death with friends and family, including their foster daughter, Rosemary, and their daughter, Hilary.

Emotions gradually arose through the shock. Grief lasted for several months. Anger at the man who took Shannon’s life came the following year.

Several months after the perpetrator pled guilty and was sentenced to a double life sentence in prison, he wanted to change his plea to not guilty and to have his sentences reduced.

“That infuriated me,” says Darold. “It triggered intense anger and flaming resentment. For weeks I tried many techniques to do away with those feelings, but nothing worked. Not the physical, mental, not even the spiritual exercises helped me.”

Yet, the Biggers decided to do the unimaginable — they forgave Shannon’s killer.

Darold’s recently released book, A Time to Forgive, tells the story of Shannon’s death and how he forgave her murderer. It begins with a glimpse into Darold’s heart, tells the story of that day in June, and details his emotional struggle and how he carried on.

“God rescued me,” says Darold, who is now WWU assistant to the president and professor of religion.

The book shows how God provided the tools needed to find peace and forgiveness. It provides an in-depth look at forgiveness, God’s request that we forgive our enemies, the significance behind His request and the tools God has given all of us to complete what can be a very difficult task.

A Time to Forgive … is a critically important work, graciously shared out of deep, personal pain. Brutally honest, it is therefore authentic in its focus on the struggle to be Christ-like, while living through the massive trauma of life’s darkest moments,” says Robert A. Seiple, former president of World Vision and former United States ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

A Time to Forgive can be purchased at your local Adventist Book Center or online at AdventistBookCenter.com.