My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. (Ps. 51:17)
“Don’t carry this guilt with you for the rest of your life. I forgive you.” These were the life-changing words that came from Tina’s mouth as she sat across the room from the young man who had accidentally cost her husband his life. The young man was a farmer, and he had been responsible for setting a field on fire on the windy morning of the accident. For a year, he carried the burden of his mistake. While the mistake could not be undone, the spirit of forgiveness was palpable in the room. He could have just paid the price through an insurance settlement, but instead, he chose to seek Tina out and ask for her forgiveness. As a result, the young man experienced true peace for the first time in a long time, and it didn’t come from a legal agreement.
Forgiveness is freedom, and it is powerful. It shakes the forgiven, the forgiver, and all those watching. In all their years, the lawyers and mediators in the room had never seen an exchange quite like this one. Just as this mother of two forgave an unthinkable mistake, Jesus forgives us freely for unthinkable sins when we come to him broken. When we seek his forgiveness and accept the gift of peace he offers, we will also experience the purity of heart he longs for us to have.
Find heavenly forgiveness though human humility.
Holly Atkinson is a Wesleyan pastor’s wife, mother of two girls, student at Wesley Seminary, and an assistant principal at a private school in Florida.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.