Would you be able to do the same?

After tragically losing her mother in a car crash, no one would blame Staci Green if she never forgave the person responsible.

After all, her mother was gone; the victim of someone else’s reckless driving. And anger and bitterness can be easier pills to swallow than forgiveness.

And for a long time, this was the case. Green fell into a deep depression. Unable to focus, she lost her job. Consumed by rage and grief, she was happy to watch Nikia Cherry suffer.

But what started with heartache and soul-crushing loss incredibly evolved into a masterclass in forgiveness. And we can all learn something from it.

The Car Crash

close up of speedometer
Photo by Pixabay

On January 20, 2020, Cherry was doing 73 miles per hour in a 45-mph zone when she collided with 76-year-old Rosie Minor, a mother of four and a grandmother of nine. Rosie died in hospital a few hours later.

Police charged Cherry with speeding and vehicular homicide. After pleading guilty, she was sentenced to 24 months probation, 240 hours of community service, and a $2500 fine, according to CBS News.

On top of the criminal proceedings, there was also a civil trial. One that would result in Rosie’s family receiving a $10 million settlement with Allstate Insurance.

For three years, Green was FURIOUS with Cherry. Fueled by resentment and pain, she stood by and watched her mother’s killer’s life unravel. She was determined to see her to pay. But as she found out, seeing your enemy suffer doesn’t actually make you happy. At least, not for long.

Nearly four years after the accident, something inside of Green changed. She says it was a miracle. Maybe it was.

In October 2023, in a courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, Green walked up to Cherry and said three simple words, “I forgive you.”

“And when I forgave her, it was like I was reborn again.”

Staci Green – CBS News

Because as it turns out, forgiveness isn’t for the other person, it’s for ourselves.

Taking Forgiveness to a Whole Other Level

After the accident, Cherry, a mother of four, lost everything. Her home, her job, her car, her life. And while this may seem like righteous retribution to some, to Green it was a call to action. Forgiving Cherry was just the beginning.

Green made a vow that she would do whatever she could to make Cherry’s life better.

And she’s kept that promise and then some.

“So I am committed to her life getting better,” Green told CBS News. “So, I’ve helped her with money for food…rent. I was her daughter’s secret Santa.”

She even booked Cherry a trip to Miami for her 40th birthday.

“She’s like a God-mama to me,” Cherry said of her relationship with Green, holding back tears. “I talk to her every day.”

The Power of Forgiveness

According to Green, she was just doing what she knew her mama, an ordained minister, would have wanted her to do. And she believes that if she hadn’t forgiven Cherry, she never would have been able to forgive herself.

“My mom is already dead,” she said, “and I was walking around dead. In order to get my life back, I had to forgive her. It doesn’t make sense to have two dead people.”

Forgiving Cherry didn’t mean condoning her actions that led to the accident. And it wasn’t about forgetting what had happened.

Rather, forgiveness was about freeing herself. From the burden of anger and bitterness that threatened to consume her. Because carrying all of that weight, the hatred and vitriol, it comes with a heavy price.

And in her forgiveness, she has discovered something else. Healing, not only for herself, but for Cherry as well.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting, it’s about choosing to move forward with love and compassion, even in the face of unimaginable pain. Not for the sake of others. But for your own.