*if the video doesn't load, click here to watch it.
Mary Karen Read's quote at the end of the clip is powerful... "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future."
I vividly remember watching the sentencing of a convicted serial killer a few years ago. One by one, the families of the victims had a chance to give a closing statement to the man who had taken the lives of their loved ones.
For about 30 minutes I watched one person after another yell at him, curse him, threaten him and mock him. And for 30 minutes he just stood there with a bit of a smirk (almost a smile) on his face. He didn't seem bothered at all.
Then, near the end of the line, a man whose daughter had been brutally killed by this murderer came to the microphone, looked straight at the killer and said, "Mr. Ridgway... I forgive you for what you have done. God says to forgive all, so you are forgiven, sir." The cold-hearted killer began to weep. The father who offered forgiveness was crying too. The crowd sat speechless.
How could someone ever offer that kind of forgiveness? It isn't natural, is it?
Lashing out in anger, seeking revenge, giving the silent treatment; those all seem like natural responses and we see plenty of examples of them all around us. But I'm convinced that forgiveness is not natural, it's supernatural.
C. S. Lewis writes about the gritty aspect of true forgiveness: "Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it."
That is what Jesus offers. He looks right at a life marked with horror, dirt and malice, and He offers forgiveness instead of revenge. He opens the prison door. He did it for this guy, and for this lady.
Are you in need of forgiveness like this? If you are uncertain about how to receive it, you can contact us through this site or you can explore on your own by clicking here.
Today, whether you find yourself locked inside a prison or you find yourself staring into the eyes of someone in need of forgiveness, may you choose to live a supernatural life marked by forgiveness.