About the Film
COULD YOU FORGIVE AND LOVE THE MAN WHO MURDERED YOUR MOTHER?
LIVE TO FORGIVE is a film about faith, redemption, and, most of all, forgiveness and the power to free yourself from the burden of unforgiveness. The film documents the extraordinary journey of DEAN ERIC SMITH to discover the truth and find forgiveness in the most dire circumstances. The story begins with a brutal crime in 1986: a man in Enumclaw, Washington murdered his wife with a baseball bat. The bat belonged to his stepson, Dean, then twelve years old.
What would you do if your stepfather killed your mother? The answer for Dean was, for many years, hate him and wait to get revenge. But Dean's life took an unusual turn. After being adopted by a pastor and having a fairly normal childhood, his life took a wrong turn. Drinking, drugs, and parties became his distractions.
Ultimately, he sought help from God to help him change his lifestyle and overcome his long-suppressed grief and anger. After years of prayer, he became a minister and, with God’s help and guidance, found forgiveness and even love for his stepfather Bob.
His search for Bob culminated in a trip to Tennessee in 2008, where they saw each other for the first time in 23 years. The entire encounter was filmed, including a remarkable meeting at which Bob confesses how and why he committed the murder. And, for the first time, Dean hears what his mother’s last words were.
Dean’s mission now is to help others free themselves from the burden of unforgiveness. His own family members have been some of the most difficult to convince. During the filming of “Live to Forgive,” Dean’s sister Gienna went through a struggle with forgiveness that became an indelible part of the film, resulting in the heart-wrenching final scenes.