A Story of Forgiveness

All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.                           Romans 5:20-21 (The Message)

I had the opportunity recently to share a story that a client shared with me many years ago. This is a story of the need for self-forgiveness, and it is as true and needed today as it was back then. Here it is with the name, of course, a stand-in for the actual name…

Lisa came into my office one day and said that she needed to share her story. She had been a prostitute and addicted to drugs, and one day presented at an emergency room overdosed (she presumes). She barely remembered how she got to the ER, but she vividly remembered the vision she had.

She said that you hear of people who are dying say that they are drawn to a light, perhaps a bright light. She continued, “I was not drawn to any kind of light. In fact, I was falling quickly into a deep and scary dark pit. As I was falling, I heard a voice say to me, ‘If I sent my son to die for you to be forgiven, how dare you not forgive yourself!’

With that, she found herself hovering over her own body lying in the ER bed. Soon after, she was revived, and eventually recovered. However, she was so impacted by this vision that she committed that day to make a new life. She had been forgiven, and started to work on forgiving herself- the hardest task she had ever encountered.

She related this story, which I clearly remember to this day although she shared it with me maybe 25 years ago. Hers was a life of suffering and sin, washed clean by a God who loved her. He only asked her to forgive herself, because he already had.  

Self-forgiveness is hard, but it is essential if we want to live a life free of shame. God sent his son for that very reason, so it is our job to accept his grace and forgiveness, even if we do not understand it.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for grace, even if we do not understand it, help us not to reason it, but to accept it, Amen  

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