Forgiveness Part II- Vengeance Rev. Sudha Mehta©
As a counselor for over thirty years, I have seen and heard all manner of stories coming to the conclusion at times that nothing can surprise me. Then something or someone does!
Some of the worst cases of abuse that have come my way, have also been cases of marvelous mercy and forgiveness and transformation.
Several years ago a woman walked into my office whose story was unlike any other I had heard. All her life had been filled with trials. While yet a toddler, she had faced awful abuse at home, which included sexual abuse at the hands of her father. Things she shared broke my heart for her. She grew up in that environment learning to make choices that were far from good for that was her training.
She was told she was no good, called horrible names that defined her, and explained her lack of self worth. She felt no sense of a healthy identity. she felt worthless, so . . . she acted worthless.
Perhaps the greatest damage done to her was by the church. The church where she went to find absolution for her sins. She looked for solace, but she got fingers pointed at her with condemnation. She longed for peace with God, but the preacher said people like her were headed for hell and could never be forgiven.
So, one day, a revival meeting came to town. she went, looking for the same absolution. The sermon was good, she felt positive. Perhaps at last she would find peace. She desperately needed to feel clean, she went forward when the invitation was given. When she confessed the one sin that made her feel the most unclean, the “counselor” shook her finger in her face and said “that is an abomination to God!” Totally depleted of hope, she left.
Then someone, who did care, said “Go see Sudha.”
She came. one last chance, one last hope, perhaps this “minister” could offer absolution. One session, one time, yes or no, she would know if there was hope for her.
When she shared her story, about how she was unclean and about how she had been rejected by the church, she had one question, “I have asked God for it, but is it even possible for me to be forgiven?” I put my notepad down and asked if she would stand. She did, I stood also in front of her. Compelled by the Spirit, I begged her forgiveness for the Church’s betrayal. I assured her she was not only forgiven by Christ, but that being forgiven made her my sister in Christ. I said I needed her forgiveness as a representative of Christ. She fell into my arms weeping.
She had come expecting one session, we did two years plus of work. Healed, transformed, she went on to become an evangelist sharing her love for her Lord with many. Christ became her passion, people now her mission. At one time she imagined herself being a “shut in” for her sins were too many. Now she lavished her treasures on Christ. Like Mary Magdalene, she had been delivered, and was not going to forget about it. She was in His service for life. now, her calendar was full form one mission field to the next. She was always helping someone, somewhere.
This woman was told she had committed sins that were unforgivable. she yearned for forgiveness, there was none extended. Yet, the forgiveness of Christ was always available. People failed her all her life, but He didn’t. All she needed to see was that the price Jesus Christ paid on the cross covered even her.
There is an interesting incident in the Bible:
Luke 7: 36 Then one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to eat with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a sinful woman from that town learned that Jesus was dining there, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. Then she kissed His feet and anointed them with the perfume.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who this is and what kind of woman is touching Him—for she is a sinner!”
40 But Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, Teacher,” he said.
41 “Two men were debtors to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they were unable to repay him, he forgave both of them. Which one, then, will love him more?”
43 “I suppose the one who was forgiven more,” Simon replied.
“You have judged correctly.” Jesus said.
44 And turning to the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give Me water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not greet Me with a kiss, but she has not stopped kissing My feet since I arrived. 46 You did not anoint My head with oil, but she has anointed My feet with perfume. 47 Therefore I tell you, because her many sins have been forgiven, she has loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
Do you see the parallel? The Pharisee named Simon was a religious leader quite akin to a church leader, a pastor. Sometimes church leaders can be guilty of thinking they “know” better than the Master. this is not an indictment for any pastor, minister, leader . . . remember, i am one, but it is a call for introspection!
How many broken hearts will we answer for when we stand before the King?
Then again, this woman in the story who remains unidentified just as my client, is no different than the one that came to see me. she persisted! Her need for forgiveness and to be made whole was deeper than her shame. How many of you can place yourself in the story, and say, “Hey, this is me?” How many of you have just given up because you were hurt by some in church, at home, or at work. How many of you have taken offence and given up on God, just because people didn’t measure up? what is your reason for staying away?
Jesus remains consistent.
Hebrews 13: 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
I have learnt through many disappointments not to measure Christ by the fallible standard of a Christian (even myself), rather I choose to challenge to measure myself against the perfect standard of Christ, and come to Him needing His help.
At the foot of the Cross, the elite, the lowly, the offender, the offended, all stand on the same level ground. Will you come?
Find us on YouTube, search for Hiswaystudies. There are two videos on the Topic of Forgiveness.