Unforgiveness allows wrongdoer to rent a room in our head

If anyone in Australia has learned something about the giving and receiving of forgiveness, it is Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton.

Lindy was convicted in 1982 of killing her baby daughter Azariah while camping at Uluru in 1980 before being finally exonerated six years later. In that time, Lindy was judged wrongly not only by many in the police and court system, but by at least half of our nation, which was divided over the subject of her guilt or innocence.

Yesterday, Lindy, along with her second husband, Rick Creighton, was a guest speaker at St Ives Baptist Church as part of that church’s innovative Spirited Australians program. Forgiveness was a key theme.

Her visit attracted media attention, partly because Lindy Chamberlain will always be, to some degree, public property in Australia and partly because of revelations made during the talk.

Rick Creighton spoke of a young woman who was so convinced that Lindy had killed her baby, and so outraged, that she got herself convicted of a minor offence to get into the same Northern Territory jail where Lindy was serving a sentence for murder.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that ‘once inside, the young woman – ”who had been mistreated as a child” – planned to make the then Lindy Chamberlain pay for Azaria’s death with her own life’.

‘This prisoner thought that Lindy had killed her child. She committed a petty crime, got convicted and put inside.’

But Lindy Chamberlain ‘had transformed the woman from a vengeful potential killer into a Christian’, the report continued.

‘…the girl got to know Lindy and realised there was no way she could be guilty. She began to study the Bible and is a Christian in her own way.’

In regards to being falsely convicted,  Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton said that despite her ordeal, she forgave her accusers and doubters. ”A lot of people think forgiveness is because you have to let the other person feel better,’ she said. ‘I don’t believe it’s got anything to do with that at all. Forgiveness is for you.

”What you’re doing, by stewing over something wrong that someone’s done to you, is renting them a room in your head.’

Mrs Chamberlain-Creighton also said her faith had not flagged, despite often biased media coverage and a criminal justice system that subjected her to two coronial inquests, a trial, two failed appeals, and a royal commission before her innocence was established.

‘If I had my way, God would have had a better verdict at the trial,’ she said. ‘But then you would have never convinced a lot of people that I was innocent.

Eventually Azaraih’s missing matinee jacket was found, further corroborating Lindy’s original story of a dingo taking her daughter.

‘When God moves, He moves in a hurry,’ she said.

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