Sermon Illustrations

Victor Hugo’s Novel “Les Miserables” tells a story of a man named Jean Valjean, who served nineteen years of hard labour for the crime of stealing bread. When he was finally released, Valjean was a hardened, tough ex-convict.

But one day his life was transformed by forgiveness. A kind bishop invited him to stay in his home for the night. After the bishop and his sister were asleep, Valjean stole the family silver and ran off into the night. The next morning, he was captured by three policemen and bought back to the bishop.

“So here you are!” the bishop cried to Valjean. “I’m delighted to see you. Had you forgotten that I gave you the candlesticks as wee? They’re silver like the rest, and worth a good 200 francs. Did you forget to take them?”

After the policemen had gone the bishop gave the candlesticks to Valjean, who was speechless and trebling. “Do not forget,; do not ever forget,” the bishop said, “that you have promised me to use the money to make yourself a new man"