The widow of an American teacher killed in Libya earlier this month said that she forgives her husband's murderers. Anita Smith is now a single mother after husband Ronnie was shot while out for a morning jog on December 5.
"I hear people speaking with hate, anger and blame over Ronnie's death" Smith wrote in an open letter to Libyans, "but that's not what Ronnie would want. Ronnie would want his death to be an opportunity for us to show one another love and forgiveness, because that's what God has shown to us."
"We knew before going into Libya that there was risk," Smith previously told CBS. "We were doing this because we wanted to follow what God had for us, and that's to show the Libyan people His love and His forgiveness. It was a normal life… It was even a joke within the city among the Libyan people just saying, 'Have you gotten used to the bombs?'"
Ronnie worked as a teacher at Benghazi International School, where he was immensely popular with the faculty and students alike. As word of his death spread, students paid tribute to him online and expressed their outrage and grief at the sudden loss. No one has come forward to claim responsibility for the murder, but an investigation is still being conducted.
"To his [Ronnie's] attackers: I love you and I forgive you. How could I not? For Jesus taught us to 'love our enemies' – not kill them or seek revenge. Because of what Jesus did, Ronnie is with Jesus in paradise now. Ronnie loved you because God loves you. Ronnie loved you because God loved him – not because Ronnie was so great, but because God is so great," Smith wrote.
"I want all of you – all of the people of Libya – to know I am praying for the peace and prosperity of Libya. May Ronnie's blood, shed on Libyan soil, encourage peace and reconciliation between the Libyan people and God," the letter concluded.