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GRACE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE


My wife, Ashley, once told me about a moment of grace that will forever remain in her memory. One icy November afternoon when she was in high school, a carload of teenage boys were on their way to a basketball game. Ashley was a cheerleader and had already arrived at the game along with most of the other basketball players and dancers who rode in the bus. But these four junior varsity boys choose to carpool together, rather than taking the bus with the rest of the students. They never made it to the game. On the way, a garbage truck came sliding through an intersection on a patch of black ice and broadsided the boy’s car. One of them suffered a broken arm. Another was in a coma for a week. And one boy, Jared Malarkey, was killed instantly.


The driver of the garbage truck wasn’t injured; at least, not physically. He wasn’t the devil. He was just a guy trying to do his job. Maybe he had one too many late nights. Maybe he was driving a little too fast. But in the blink of an eye, he had the injuries of three young men and the death of one on his hands and in his heart. I can only imagine the guilt and remorse that kept him up at night.


Then, not long after the funeral, his phone rang. The Malarkey family, the parents of the boy who died, wanted to meet the man who killed their son. I’m sure he had no desire to look them in the eyes, but he conceded anyway. I imagine his hand was probably trembling when he reached out to knock on their door. What would he see in their eyes? Hatred? Anger? Worst of all, pain?


But when the door opened, he saw none of those things. Instead, he saw compassion. They hugged him and welcomed him into their house. They served him dinner. And he must had chocked back tears when they assured him, "We forgive you."


A moment of grace can change a lifetime. In fact, a moment of grace can change an eternity.

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