Have you ever been caught red-handed doing something terribly wrong, suddenly realizing the awful consequences that were about to happen as a result?
It's a terrifying, shocking head rush realization of how bad this is going to turn out followed with a heavy dose of shame and guilt.
As a young boy I got caught stealing a racy men's magazine – some kind of police gazette that had scantily clad women in it. This was way before Playboy but it was probably the porn of its time. I was horrified at the level of humiliation and punishment that lay ahead for me when my family and friends found out .I was a good kid. Heck- I was an altar boy! This wasn't like me at all which was going to make it that much worse.I had hidden the magazine in my jacket and as I was making my escape a gigantic hand grabbed me, spun me around and in a rough cigar breathed gravelly voice said “HEY YOU! What have you got there? YOU LITTLE THIEF! Let me see that! – That’s not for kids! And it's against the law to steal – you know that right?Terrified -- I stared up at this GIANT.What's your name kid? Where do you live?”Trembling, I whispered, “David sir. Close by sir.” Then I burst into tears.I'M SORRY! I'M SO SO SORRY!"Should I call your parents ? I SHOULD call your parents. I should let them know what their boys been up to. "I couldn't answer .I couldn't stop crying.He came down on one knee, his growly face at my eye level and he just looked at me for a couple seconds……"I'm not going to call them kid.”But I want you to remember this lesson, CRIME DOESN”T PAY ! ”I was still whimpering."Now go."I bolted for the door."And kid," I froze and turned around. There was a long pause.
"I forgive you. "
I blinked. My mouth dropped. A quick audible gasp as the words sank in.I wanted to run back and hug him,but I wasn't brave enough, instead I sobbed out loud and ran all the way home. I have no idea why he decided it was necessary that I knew I was forgiven. Maybe there was a time in his life when someone bestowed Amazing Grace on him and he was passing it forward. All I know is that I cannot, will not, ever forget his eyes when they transformed and the healing came…. " I forgive you."It was one of the best gifts of my childhood.
Forgiveness. The Story of Easter.Not only did Jesus come to offer us forgiveness, he took the punishment for everything, past, present and future.I never said “Thank You” to that store owner, but Jesus, I say "Thank You" to you. You are the greatest gift ever given.
Do you have a love story to share? Send it to us. We are putting together a book of them.Go to www.passionvoice.org and click on “A Thousand Shades of Grace” . God Bless Your Day.