A couple weeks Kelli and I were spending the afternoon with some friends in Bremerton, WA. We got a call from our oldest daughter Tiffany in tears because she had just been jumped after school in the park by a young girl who also attends are church. The girl punched her in the back of the head, tackled her to the ground and bit her finger before one of Tiffany's friends was able to pull the girl off. The police were called, the girl took off and Tiffany ended up at the E.R. for her finger.
Well, to make a long story short, Tiffany had the opportunity to press charges against this girl but she chose instead to show her a real life demonstration of grace by choosing to forgive her and move on. Of course, the girl had fled the scene so she had no idea what Tiffany had chosen to do. Now, I was very proud of Tiffany for her attitude and decision but I also wandered what would happen if the girl showed back up to church. She did this past Friday.
The tension was there and instead of allowing it to linger I took the girls to a back room and asked if either of them had anything to say. The girl said no and then Tiffany spoke up. She said, "I want you to know that I forgive you." You should have seen the entire demeanor of this girl change as the words rolled off Tiffany's tongue. The girls body language changed, her eyes softened and her attitude disappeared. She looked at Tiffany and as sincere as she could be said, "I'm really sorry, I was drunk that day, it won't happen again." From that point on the girls were able to talk about the situation and we were able to explain grace to this girl and point back to Jesus and share the gospel with her.
The girl did not accept Christ on Friday but something changed. God is working and it was a direct result of forgiveness given in a situation where no one expected it and no one would have looked down on Tiffany for not giving it. Forgiveness. What a concept? I think it could change the world!