I’ve had 2 rather shocking stories going through my mind. I feel to share both today.
Story 1 — A woman struggled for years with the fact that her father had killed himself. She struggled with not only the pain of losing him, but with trying to reconcile herself to the fact that this wonderful person, who had done so many wonderful things in his life, had chosen so poorly to end it himself. He had been sick, but that didn’t justify suicide.
Many years later she herself became seriously ill. During her illness she couldn’t ever sleep and couldn’t function. Her mind became stressed with lack of sleep and constant pain. Only with the help of the doctors and modern hospital equipment was she able to eventually make a full recovery. As she researched her disease, she found out that it was hereditary, and only in the few years before her episode had doctors really been able to identify and treat it. Before that, it is suspected many ended up relegated to mental institutions, or dead. She learned and understood that God was aware of every factor that lead to her father’s decision, and that God would judge in all His wisdom, complete knowledge, and mercy. The condemnation had never been hers to make.
Story 2 — Second is a murder story. It was about a man who had arranged to have his entire family killed. He arranged for the “hit man” to graze him to divert suspicion from his own involvement. The plan was carried out and was successful, except his father who eventually recovered. The story focused on the man who was eventually caught, admitted his involvement, but never showed any remorse or regret. He had come from a loving family and had no reason to wish any of them dead. He was given the death sentence.
The true story there should have been the father. At first the father wanted revenge on whoever hurt and killed his family. However, after some prayer, he experienced a complete change of heart. He told his son, the only family he had left, that he had chosen to forgive whoever did this to their family. The son remained silent, positive in his own belief that the sentiment would not apply if the truth ever came out. Eventually the police were able to piece together the source of the apparently random shooting, and reveal the son’s guilt, but the father remained true to his forgiveness. He never once sought revenge on his son. He never stopped loving him. He visited him regularly in prison and headed up the appeals. He had already unconditionally forgiven the person who had taken his family from him.
This humble father did what we have all been asked to do, despite his trying circumstances, and turned judgment completely over to God.
Next time I want to judge, I hope to remember that I may not really have the entire picture. Next time I think it is too hard to forgive someone, and still show love, I’ll remember what unconditional love can really look like. We are told that God is merciful, and I believe that mercy is one of the powers that creates miracles.