A few months ago I watched the movie, ‘The Least of These,’ I’m not going to talk about the movie here, but what it brought back to me, was my meeting with Gladys Staines, just after the gruesome murder of her husband and her two little sons. Even as she spoke to me, a vein on her forehead throbbed and I wondered whether any mother could live with the scene of two little ones, Philip aged ten and Timothy aged six, and her beloved Graham roasted alive?
“How?” I asked, “Could you forgive the murderer?”
She looked at me and suddenly there was calm, “Why not?” she asked.
It’s a question that’s troubled me no end, these last twenty years. Do I forgive because the Bible says I have to? Do I forgive because I’m scared God will bear down heavily on me if I don’t?
I’m sure there are many who try to do so, for such reasons, but the calm I felt around her, came from a heart that did not carry the burden of anger or revenge.
So why did she forgive?
I believe that the day, it dawns on us our life here is temporary, and that what matters is the eternal life promised for us, we realize the worst here doesn’t matter.
I believe also in the words of that beautiful song which at a funeral had me shed tears not of sorrow but of joy as a choir and finally everyone round the grave sang with gusto filled with hope and certainty:
There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.
Yes, she misses Graham and her beloved boys, but she knows she will meet them on that beautiful shore! Three score years and ten, and quite often a score or more are given to us for staying in this abode called earth, and in that time, whatever the circumstances, whatever our trials, our duty is to draw people even murderers to God, because that’s the sole reason He has put us here!
And then, like Gladys knew, comes an eternity of joy..!
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