Summary: Jesus forgives us of our sins; we should be forgiving as well. Here’s what happens when we pardon those who sin against us.
Andrew was a young man of 26 years old. He was very responsible and sociable as well.
Since he was 9 years old, Andrew had been working to help and sustain his poor family. And for most of his life he had worked in the fields. But although he was a hard worker, he never had a steady job.
Andrew was tired of the same old routine and instability in his life. Now being married, he longed for something better but wasn’t sure what that would be.
Until one day that changed the course of his life.
Andrew visited a publishing house. Upon seeing the work that went on in there, he was deeply impressed.
Andrew instantly fell in love with that place-the big machinery, the technology, seeing the printed pages roll off the presses.
Since that day, he unequivocally knew what he wanted to do: he wanted to be a press operator.
Andrew went to a trade school. He was very studious and a quick learner. He kept his eye open for any opportunity to work at the presses while he was in school.
Two and a half years later, a newspaper company that was growing and had a fantastic future had an opening: they were looking for a press operator and they were even willing to train a responsible person for that position.
Andrew applied and got the job. He couldn’t have been happier. The career that he dreamed of a couple of years before now became a reality.
Andrew worked hard. He was very responsible and he learned all the different areas of printing. In reality, Andrew was one of the best workers in the entire company. They even gave him a promotion.
Not only was Andrew happy with his job and the money, but there was a side benefit as well: he got along very well with his co-workers.
Here was Andrew’s future. Andrew was in paradise.
It was at this company that Andrew met Michael.
Michael was an employee there before Andrew and quickly they became friends. Michael was apparently a trustworthy person. He was a good listener and never criticized or craked jokes about other employees.
One day, while on their lunch break, Andrew confided something about his past to Michael that he had never confided to anyone before.
"I used to suffer from manic depression. One day, at the job I had back then, I even threatened to commit suicide and the police had to come and control the situation. I even interrupted the services in my church one morning."
He was in a psychiatric hospital for three months.
That same night at home, Anrew’s wife didn’t think it was such a good idea to share his past so openly with Michael.
The following Friday, Andrew’s boss called him into his office.
It turned out that the boss was informed about Andrew’s past. He explained to Andrew how disappointed he was that Andrew had not been honest in his application.
He further went on to say that although he was a good worker, the company had too bright of a future to risk any "incidents."
Andrew was fired.
The career that he had dreamed of, a promising futre-all went down the drain. Instead of being a dream come true, Andrew was now experiencing a nightmare. A nightmare of depression and treason.
Andrew was flabbergasted. He opened up to a friend. There was no doubt in his mind that it was Michael that had informed his boss about his past.
If you were Andrew what would your feelings be towards Michael?
Anger? Rage? Sadness? Disappointment?
Without a doubt, this was one horrible experience for Andrew that he would never forget. What a betrayal!
One author said,
"One of God’s better jokes on us was to give us the power to remember the past and leave us no power to undo it."1
All of us-maybe like Andrew in this story-have been willing to trade almost anything in order to be able to erase moments of cruelty or betrayal in our past. The hurtful experiences.
But unlike computers, no "delete key" exists to erase reality.
If it is possible to choose to disregard those moments of cruelty, maybe, with time, we can be free from their pain as well.
But past injustices are fastened in our memories like nails.
This morning I want to share a gift with you. A gift that Jesus himself has given to all of us. A gift that we sometimes value and other times scorn:
This gift has been wrapped by Jesus himself and was meant to be opened and used. Let me begin by saying that forgiveness did not originate with man, but it was meant for man.
Let me explain why.
When we talk about forgiveness, we are, at the same time, talking about injustice because forgiveness cannot exist without injustice.