Monday, March 17, 2014

The Letter. Should he open it?

Luke 6:37b  "Forgive others, and you will be forgiven."  NLT

He got the letter not long after he was sent to prison.  He wasn't sure if he should open it.  After all it was from the father of the family that he was partially responsible for the death of their son.  

It didn't matter that he didn't even know that their son had died until months after it occurred.  

It didn't matter that he had never even met their son except that one time.

It didn't matter that he didn't think the prescription drug he bought on the street for him wouldn't harm him.

It didn't matter that he thought the informant should have been held responsible for this crime and should be the one in jail.  

It didn't matter that he was sincerely sorry that their son had died and that he had said as much at his sentencing for them to hear.

It didn't matter that prison was the last place he wanted to be.

Should he open it or not.  

He stared at it for a while and eventually decided to open it.

He didn't expect to see those words.  "We don't hold anything against you. We forgive you."

There were other things in the letter too and they were actually praying for him.  

He wrote back to them and told them that he's been reading his Bible and seeking God.  He sure didn't want to be sent to prison, but it was changing him for the better.  

This is a true story.  As the parents of the son that died it is hard to describe how it felt to forgive this young man.  I can tell you that this forgiveness not only affected the young man's life, but ours as well.  

It also got me to start thinking and praying about others in my life that I haven't really forgiven.  I thought I was the forgiving type, but God soon revealed a few people that I was still holding onto forgiveness with.  

He also showed me how not forgiving was a consuming and destructive force.  It was not advancing His kingdom.  In fact it was doing the opposite.  Besides that, it was taking precious time away from more important things in life.  

Letting go and forgiving opened me up to forgiveness and the blessing that being forgiven brings.  I also had to ask forgiveness myself.  This was even harder for me, but in the end brought some healing into these relationships.

I challenge you:

Is there anyone you need to forgive?  
Were you abused, forgotten, lied to, cheated on, ...?
Is there anyone you need to ask forgiveness?
Did you gossip, lie about, deceive, neglect, ...?

Ask God to show you whom you need to forgive and ask forgiveness of.

Prayer:  Lord, Help us to forgive, even when it's hard too. Help us seek forgiveness too. Lastly, use forgiveness to bring us and the other person closer to you

Ann Gapinski

Photo Courtesy of:  Gualberto107 image ID: 100168350  from

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