Radical Forgiveness: Why She Forgave Her Father’s Killer

How one woman (Margot Van Sluytman) came to forgive the man who murdered her father.

CLICK HERE to listen to the radio interview by Anna Maria Tremonti (CBC The Current).

Or CLICK HERE to read the story transcript. (Copyright © CBC 2016)

Margot writes,

“Meeting the man who murdered my Dad, disrupted my family life. At the time of that occurrence, I was told to trust.

‘Trust what happens when authenticity of the heart guides your choice.’ 

Ten years later, that disruption has become an aspect that infuses my relationship to my family with deepened respect for each other. And, also shifts how we can talk with each other, even when we do not agree.”

The man who killed her father is Glen Flett. He was later convicted of second degree murder and spent 15 years in prison.

Margot’s father, Theodore, died at the age of 40.

Margot and Glen are now friends and occasional colleagues, speaking in prisons in Canada about restorative justice.

The story goes back to March 27, 1978, when Flett, with two other men, tried to rob a Brinks truck in Scarborough, Ont. It was Easter Monday.Theodore Van Sluytman was one of the sales representatives at a Hudson’s Bay store.  That morning he said goodbye to his wife and four children and went to work on his day off to get ready for an upcoming sale. In a brief encounter Glen Flett shoots and kills Theodore Van Sluytman.

Margot Van Sluytman’s teenage years after that were not easy. She suffered from depression, bulimia and tried to kill herself once.

Glen leaves prison, marries and tries to repair his wrongs by helping other victims of crime. Margot becomes a published author and poet.

About 29 years after the murder of Theodore Van Sluytman, Margot and Glen reconnect: first via email and eventually they meet in person, neither really sure of where this will take them.

“I just walked up to him and … we just hugged each other and he said, ‘I’m sorry’. And he was crying and I was crying … I said, ‘I know, it’s OK.’ And it was very powerful and it was very, very real.”– Margot Van Sluytman on her first meeting with Glen Flett

On The Current, Glen and Margot tell their story of reconciliation and friendship.

Listen to the full conversation here.

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