Ed Thomas: A Story of Forgiveness


“To err is human, to forgive divine.” At least according to the oft-quoted Alexander Pope, but giving forgiveness is easier said than done in most instances.  The ability to look past our own hurts to offer comfort to the person responsible for our pain takes some of our own ache away.  This video shows how one family turned their tragedy into triumph.  I realize that this video is longer than what I usually show here on my blog, but the content was so powerfully moving that I was compelled to make an exception.  Please let me know your thoughts after you’ve watched.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Mark

    This is a very powerful video. The first time I watched it, I tried to put myself in the shoes of both families. First, I looked from the Becker family’s side. I cannot imagine the devastation and guilt they must have felt. In a small, close knit town, they needed healing, but it seemed an unlikely place to get it. From the Thomas family’s side, I could only see myself experiencing pain, sorrow, disbelief and probably anger.

    As I got through the video, I personally was humbled by the incredible act of compassion and forgiveness the Thomas family showed. I was brought to tears, not only by the story, but also by the realization that I have often not moved on, forgiven, and offered support. I have looked at times when I or my family have been hurt, and have seen us as the only ones suffering. Watching the healing that both families in this video experienced put things in a new perspective for me.

    None of my hurts were on this level, yet I clung to them as though they were. I had acted on those in the opposite way that the Thomas family had, and I carried them with me daily. But for the first time, I looked and saw that I was not alone. I knew I had to reach out and offer healing to those on the “other side” as well. I have reached out, forgiven, and I know my life has improved for it, as well as helping at least two others who had been carrying their burden.

    We are quick to ask for forgiveness or compassion when we are the ones who need it, but we need to be just as quick to offer it to those in need. Please, take ten minutes to really watch this video if you have not already. Let the message sink in. Look into your heart and see where you may have fallen short, and see what you can do to help the healing.

  • Rebecca Weaver

    Our God is so very good!! So, very powerful is this man…this family’s witness to the love of Jesus Christ & our gracious Abba!! Who could argue there’s a God after that testimony to God’s faithfulness?? I am blessed to have viewed this. Thank you, Mark!! Thank you, Coach Thomas for reminding us what it is all about!! Thank you Thomas family for sharing your tragedy to triumph with others!! May God continue to use your faithfulness and obedience…God bless you all.

  • Robi3181

    I just stopped crying! I am amazed at the strength and grace of this family! This a great example of forgiveness and truly Coach Thomas instilled the right values and love into is children. I am praying for thier continued healing.

  • Carolyn

    So powerful and awe imspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  • Emilio Vazquez

    The message and the story really opened up my eyes and my heart. I can only thank god for his goodness and how everyday we should all live honoring his word and forgiving as he has always forgiven us. God is so amazing . Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Brian

    I have been struggling of late on what’s God’s purpose and plan is for my life. This video has helped me realize that life is much bigger than myself. It’s about our daily interactions with the people with whom we come in contact and our revealing Jesus to them through out thoughts, words, and actions. Compassion and forgiveness is so central to our daily lives.

  • Brian, you’re on target! Way to go!

  • Thank you all for sharing your personal thoughts. This remarkable story has certainly impacted many lives.

  • Cmiles

    Thanks for sharing this powerful story. After losing our son in June of 2006 we decided that we needed to continue our son’s compassion and kindness. In our journey we crossed paths with others that have lost children, and people like Tony Dungy and many friends and family have helped us with this journey. Discovering God’s unconditional love provides us a peace that no intellectual answer could ever provide.

  • Cmiles, you are so welcome. And thanks to you for sharing your story as well. It’s wonderful that you want to honor your son in that way.

  • Goodnewsroy

    Forgiveness opens up so many possibilities. As an example, my wife and I were split for a year and a half. During that time we both made some very poor decisions and even went through with the divorce. My life was spinning out of control and I was racked with guilt and anger. We’ve since reconciled and the process isn’t always easy, but our present and future are wide open. We have a great appreciation for eachother and daily live for one another. Our possibilities now seem endless, where before, life was dark and closed in. Pride and fear can sneak in sometimes, but someone told me that satan wants us to believe the lie. Christ came so we could be forgiven, that’s the TRUTH !!!

  • Benavideznd

    Amazing story of forgiveness. The work of God is sooooooooooooooo unbelievably AMAZING!

  • WHoa! That was a really touching video. And I swear, forgiving a person who had hurt you beyond reason took a lot of courage, strength and character to do. I just hope that we can learn a lot from these people in the video. Because I sure did!

  • Jane042674

    so touching….i really cry.thank for sharing this video.God really works in wondrous deeds.A true Christian Family worthy to set an example….To God be the Glory

  • Gptzs

    What an amazing story ,thank you so much for sheering,I’ll make sure my kids watch it too.
    You are doing a wonderful job

  • This is a beautiful video! I pray that I will have that kind of compassion and love towards those that hurt me. The Thomas family is an incredible example of Jesus’ love!

  • Rosie

    Thank you for sharing this story. As the tears flow the compassion, love and forgiveness from the family is amazing! They didn’t just say it they acted it out!

  • inlovewithGOD

    This story is extremely moving, as I am going going through something very painful myself. I see how easily this family has offered forgiveness and how much it has help them to heal, and I know that I too must forgive in order to move forward and and do allow any bitter roots to grow.
    I am very grateful to be able to view this. I want to thank this family for being so Christlike and showing us how to truly love one another even in the worst of times.

  • Guest

    Oh my goodness, what an amazing God we serve and what an amazing family!  Thank you for sharing an example of Christ’s Love being shown in some of the darkest times I can imagine.

  • mommymelody

    One word. Wow… Such an example. This will stay with me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Rebeccalinn

    I have struggled with forgiving, not just a crime, but the offender of it.  I felt that I deserved some sort of emotional restitution and was justified in my hurt…but many years ago (and not soon enough) I listened after my prayers and God spoke to me that to fully forgive is to offer a blessing on the person.  I have felt a weight of a thousand elephants off my life since doing that.  No, I was not asked to establish a relationship, just to forgive and bless.  I watched this video with such awe as this family forgave and reached out immediately!  They showed mercy and love beyond belief and I can only imagine that it was by God’s grace that they were able to ask a whole community to do the same.  And God was pleased.  What a wonderful God! 

  • A.J.M.

    It was good to see that. I mentor young men and can use the documentation as an example of the power of forginess. 

  • momto5monkeys


  • momto5monkeys

    Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow.

    AMAZING, inspiring, surreal.

    Thank you for sharing this, Mark!

  • Preciadas190026

    I love the message it touched my heart<3<3

  • Starr

    Hi Mark, loved this video.  Uncommon strength that can only come from God.  Starr

  • Suzzanne

    What a powerful video.  Thank you for sharing.  Seeing these kinds of videos remind me over and over again what compassionate and caring people we have all around us.  Bless both of these families.

  • Belle

    An Awesome example of God’s love & forgiveness. He sounds like a great, giving man who encouraged & taught those around him how to make the best out the worst situations. What a great impact it has made by sharing!!!

  • Nancy

    What a beautiful and inspiring video. It is amazing to think that people can get through such a tragedy when we sometimes feel devastated and overwhelmed by happenings of so much less significance or consequence. The emotion brought tears to my eyes and made me realize that with faith we really can deal with anything that comes our way – even if it does not seem possible at first!
    I am so thankful to have taken the time to watch the entire video and trust that its impact will stay with me in my own experiences.

  • Val Plagge

    Every Iowan is very proud of the Ed Thomas family. Ed’s son Aaron now speaks around Iowa from time to time about “Faith. Family. Football.” (that is while he is not busy as Athletic Director of Applington-Parkersburg High School)

  • Val Plagge

    I highly recommend reading “Sacred Acre” – a biography of Ed Thomas and his family. Great book!

  • Ana

    Truly inspiring how God has his ways for communicating his messages – This is the true essence of God’s teachings!

  • Del

    Very moving and caring story. I know that I how I need to live my life. I pray daily to God to let me lead by example. Thank you for sharing this heart warming story.

  • Chris Baker

    Wow two wonderfull families!

  • Don Land

    Here on my elliptical working out. Didn’t expect to be crying in the gym. I knew this story somewhat, but to hear the family act with such compassion is a miracle, but possible for all of us. Truly enlightening and such a powerful example for others to see and hopefully emulate. A great man who left behind a great family.

  • Shalifa

    Thank you for posting this. Being an Iowan born and raised I wish I had thought to include this one in my paper for change last fall and my persuasive speech last week. They were both about guns, needed to protect schools on all levels. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Deb Bie

    My husband and I had a stupid argument last night and I just cried seeing this video. Life, it is all about example and being Christlike and not falling for the devil’s ploys. James 4:7 (NKJV) 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Our world and movies would be all about getting even and crushing that family and terrible judgement for them, instead Christians showed love, forgiveness, and comfort to another family struggling terrible. Great video!

  • Deb Bie

    Me too!