A few weeks ago I learned that an old friend from high school’s brother had passed away. He was hit by a vehicle while he stopped to help another person with a stalled car. I knew him many years ago; he was a sweet, loving guy. Always had a smile on his face and was just a genuine, kind-hearted person. We attended youth group together and though I hadn’t seen him in many years I clearly remembered his positive nature and was saddened by the news.
This terrible tragedy caused I’m sure many emotions to rise for his family and those who knew and loved him. Grief, sadness, loss, confusion. But one that may not be typical is forgiveness.
You see my friend and her family have experienced first had the promise of forgiveness in their lives and rather than hate the person who took the life of their loved one, they live forgiveness by praying for this person instead of hating him. They want to reach out to him and share God’s truth and the gift of salvation though Jesus.
My friend, the victim’s sister was quoted as saying:
We’ve actually been praying for him, because we know that my brother wouldn’t want us to hate him. As Christians, we actually are going to try to reach out to him and see if he would be interested in learning about God and to see if he wants to accept Jesus as his Lord and savior and to change his life around.
They want to see him turn his life around.
And I’d like to believe that if I were in their shoes I would respond in the same way but I just don’t know. Forgiveness is supernatural, it goes beyond what we’re feeling at the moment and what we deserve; it takes effort. But it also brings freedom.
I read this quote by John Ortberg that has stuck with me, “Bitterness is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.”
I don’t know about you but I’ve felt that way, I have tasted the poison and waited for the rat to die all the while slowly just dying myself.
Forgiveness. It’s not easy but when we have been forgiven much we can live free from the burden of sin and we can freely offer the gift of forgiveness to those who wrong us.
If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
What would it look like to live as one forgiven?