Can’t Forgive

“Some actions just can’t be forgiven.”

It was a long time ago, in the midst of horrible circumstances, when a pastor said those six words to me.

I thought he mis-spoke. I asked him to repeat. He said it again, clearly and slowly and deliberately. “Some actions just can’t be forgiven.”

At the time I didn’t appreciate the level of pain. I just knew we should forgive, and I figured a pastor ought to know that. But knowing is easy. Everyone who follows Jesus, and even most who don’t, know about forgiving.

Knowing doesn’t help much.

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There’s a story I tell sometimes when I’m speaking about  getting past adversity.

A young man named Cody stood in a courtroom, about to be sentenced for a tragic crime, one senseless moment that changed a bunch of lives forever. In one instant of careless driving, Cody swerved and hit two men who’d stopped to help a guy with car trouble.

Zach Templeton—dad, husband, and state trooper, died. Scott Hinshaw, his partner and best friend, was seriously injured. Now, as the man who killed his buddy and nearly killed him stood to be sentenced, Scott asked to speak. He spoke directly to Cody. Here’s part of what he said:

“I’m willing to stand with you and do community service with you and help you honor Zach.

“You messed up Cody, and that one decision cost a life.

“Although you did this … I refuse, and I do not want you, to let this ruin your life.

“You made a mistake. Do not let it define who you are.

“My advice to you is to be better than you can ever be …

“Carry on, brother. We’ll get better.”

This is where life gets real, where it’s not a set of lofty ideas, where that notion of “the valley of the shadow of death” isn’t just poetic imagery.

Ever been there? Thoughts?

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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