Forgiveness Is Freedom

July 29, 2013

Friends,
A very old woman now, in her 90s, Lily sat at her familiar antique table by the front window, typing out a new blog message about God’s wonderful Word. She noticed a car drive up and park beyond her yard’s white picket fence, and she watched as a young woman got out, came around to the passenger side, and helped an elderly man out. The man, using a walker, began hobbling toward Lily’s front door while the young woman went back to wait in the driver’s seat.

Lily went out on her porch and watched the old man shamble painfully up the cemented path. He stopped at the bottom of the porch steps, and looking up at her, he said quietly, “Lily?”

“Yes, that’s me,” Lily responded good-naturedly.

The man hesitated, then said, “It’s Joe.” He seemed to wince as he said it.

Lily stared at the haggard man, finally recognizing him as her ex-son-in-law. A flood of memories flashed across her mind. –The bruises year after year which he had inflicted upon her daughter –that sweet young wife who would not give up believing that Joe would someday become a peaceful, loving, and godly husband. –The man’s continued cruelty… the piercing wails and sobs coming from her daughter’s anguishing heart… –The pool of drying blood which Jessica, already dead a day, was found in at her rented home a few months after finally divorcing Joe… –The court case, and Joe’s vindication despite enormous evidence to the contrary… Joe’s disguised look of triumph and mockery as the verdict was read…

Lily had long ago forgiven Joe, even though he had never asked for it. But now, with him standing before her, her lips were trembling, and temptations to instead extend hatred seemed to be smashing into her heart and mind. “You killed Jessica,” she finally whispered.

Joe’s saggy eyes looked pleading, tears welling up and quickly falling. All he could do was nod.

“Slug him,” a hollow voice said.

Startled, Lily spoke back in her spirit, “Absolutely not.” It was an immediate defeat to the evil one, for her stand sent him fleeing, enabling the Lord’s love to come flooding in to replace the attack of hate.

The hunched little man –Joe– who had once been so big and strong and arrogant was weeping silently, muttering, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Lily came down the steps, and cupping her ex-son-law’s face in her little, wrinkled hands, whispered softly, “Joe, I totally forgive you.”

Joe burst into sobs and hugged his ex-mother-in-law, thanking her over and over and over. Lily was crying too.

After composing themselves, Lily asked, “Joe, have you gotten right with the Lord?” Joe explained that he had –that he had reconciled with God through Christ, and that having been forgiven by Him, as well as now by her, he was ready to meet His Maker, undoubtably in a few months, considering that his organs were riddled with cancer. “I’m so free now,” Joe added. “All those years of guilt…” His voice trailed off.

“Yes, it’s over,” Lily replied, also feeling freer than ever. “You’ve been forgiven. Fully forgiven.”

Joe nodded, smiling and still wiping his eyes. “Thank you so, so much,” he said, and slowly turning his walker around, shuffled back down the narrow walkway.

Later, after Joe’s care-taker had helped him back into the car, and they had driven away, Lily sat thoughtfully, once again, at her table by the window.

“Forgiveness,” she began to type, “is freedom.”

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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