While up in Silverthorne, Colorado this weekend, we visited a church. It was an outdoor church that meets in the park during the warm summer months. The boys struggled to sit and listen. At ages four and six, the allure of the park was too strong. I decided the best thing to do was to take them to the nearby lake and skip rocks.
Although I was a hundred yards away, I could still catch most of the sermon. The pastor talked about forgiveness and related a couple of heart breaking, and yes, heart-warming stories. One story really caught my attention.
The story was about a family that had an enemy. I don’t know what created the hatred between this man and the family he crushed, but he was evil. To take out his hatred, he kidnapped their 10-year-old son.
He took this boy into the Florida Everglades and struck him repeatedly with an ice pick. He then tortured him by burning his little body with cigarettes. Finally, he shot the child in the head, leaving him to die.
Well, the boy didn’t die. He survived. He was blinded in one eye from the gunshot. The man was never caught and the years passed by. Sitting in a nursing home decades later, the would be murderer decided to confess. The law could do nothing because so much time had passed.
The 10-year-old boy was now 32. He became a youth pastor and discovered the identity of his 77-year-old perpetrator. He decided to visit him in the nursing home. In fact, he eventually led that wretched man to the Lord. When I heard it, I cried. What an unbelievable account of forgiveness.
I don’t know if I could be that forgiving . . . could you?