Good morning friends -
This morning, I would like to ask for prayer for the driver of the Yukon (which hit Kate's car) and his family. They did not want this to happen any more than we did, and their family is deeply struggling too. They have asked to remain anonymous here on this public blog and I will respect that - I will call him "Sam" and his wife, "Julie." Anyone who was at the Memorial Service will most likely never forget the display of forgiveness, grace and redemption we witnessed.
Near the end of the sharing time last Tuesday, a woman walked - or, rather, was very nearly carried - by three other women, to the front of the church. She had been sitting in the back for the service and needed some fresh air outside, where these other women found her, figured out who she was, and brought her up front. Bless these three women who stood up there with her and supported her.
If you haven't already guessed, it was Julie. The tears fell as she over and over again said how sorry her family was that this had happened. She explained that Sam had not left his bed since the night of the accident, he couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. My mom went up and stood with her then. Julie sobbed as she looked right at Todd and said, "He wants to die, bro!" And at that moment, Todd and Kate jumped up and held a long embrace with her. Pastor Joe and my dad also came up and the whole service prayed for Sam and Julie and their family.
It was quite possibly, the most vivid picture I have ever witnessed of forgiveness in "unforgivable" circumstances.
Forgiveness is not saying the wrong they have done you is okay. It also does not mean you won't want to see justice done, if needed (and indeed, there is an investigation underway for the cause of the crash). But forgiveness IS giving up my right to hurt you, for hurting me. It is releasing them to the Lord, not allowing bitterness to be in our hearts. And we know that God is both complete justice and complete grace. It means that we don't have to worry about making sure they suffer as much as we have.
I have heard whisperings that Sam needs to pay, that he doesn't deserve forgiveness. But that is not our family's true heart. Jesus died on the cross for Sam hitting Kate's car, just as he died for the lie I told yesterday, or the hurtful way I spoke to my kids this morning. Romans 6:23 says "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus." (NIV) My sin is no different than Sam's, although the earthly consequences may be different.
Colossians 3:13 -" Make allowance for each other's faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others." (NLT)
Let me also say that the choice of forgiveness is done in a moment - but the feelings of forgiveness take a much longer time. Let us choose to forgive today, and our feelings will learn to follow.
I found the below quotes on forgiveness and thought to share them all with you - I pray you are encouraged!
Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life. --George MacDonald
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.—Unknown
He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.--George Herbert
Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.—Unknown
You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well. --Lewis B. Smedes
Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. --Anonymous