‘I forgive and love you,’ widow tells husband’s murderers

Wife of American teacher killed in Libya pens open letter to Libyan people, husband’s killers

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The widow of American teacher Ronnie Smith, who was shot and killed in Libya two weeks ago, said she forgives and loves her husband’s murderers, CBS News reported Thursday.

“I love you and I forgive you,” Anita Smith wrote in an open letter to the murderers, who have yet to be found.

“How could I not? For Jesus taught us to ‘love our enemies’ - not to kill them or seek revenge. Jesus sacrificed His life out of love for the very people who killed him, as well as for us today,” she added.

On Dec. 5, gunmen in a car shot and killed the teacher while he jogged on a street near the couple’s home, a week before they were meant to return to the United States for the holidays.

To the Libyan people, Smith wrote: “Ronnie and I came to Libya because we saw the suffering of the Libyan people, but we also saw your hope, and we wanted to partner with you to build a better future."

“Even knowing what I know now, I have no doubt that we would both make the same decision all over again.”

She added: “I always expected that God would give us a heart to love you, but I never expected you to love us so much. We came to bless you, but you have blessed us much more. Thank you.”

Smith said she “really didn’t feel unsafe” in Benghazi, where she and her husband were living.

“Once we started knowing our neighbors and them taking us into their homes and loving us, it just was normal life.”

However, she said the couple was aware of the potential dangers.

“We knew before going into Libya that there was risk. We were doing this because we wanted to follow what God has for us, and that’s to show the Libyan people His love and His forgiveness.”

When asked what she misses most about her husband, Smith replied: “Seems like we grew up together. He’s just been daily in my life all these years, growing together, and just imagining the rest of life without him doesn’t seem real.”

He was laid to rest on Thursday in Austin, Texas.