As I recall, the little movie was entitled, “In One Blinding Moment.” It was based on a true story. A little girl is on her way to elementary school carrying a small fish bowl containing a small goldfish. She is looking forward with anticipation to sharing her little fish with her little friends at school during show and tell.
As she crosses the street at the designated place and with the help of the cross guard, a car comes careening around the corner. It is traveling too fast; too fast to avoid hitting the innocent little girl. In one blinding moment, lives are changed forever. The little girl dies at the scene; pieces of the broken fish bowl lay scattered about her broken little body. A young, high school-age boy is taken away by police to face the blind justice of the courts.
In the film, the father of the little girl is filled with anger, hostility and hatred toward the young man who has taken the life of his precious little girl. His desire for vengeance becomes an obsession with him to the point where it begins to affect his relationships with his wife and the rest of his family. Divorce and the breakup of his once peaceful and fulfilling world seem to be inevitable.
Then he begins to learn about the boy who ran over his little girl and the circumstances surrounding what had occurred that fateful morning. The more he learns the more his heart is softened toward him. He finds out that the young man has no parents and that he would stand alone before the judge to be sentenced for his crime.
Instead of sending the boy to prison for what he has done, the man and his wife adopt the boy and bring him into their home to be raised as one of their own. The man’s heart is healed. The marriage is saved and the boy’s life is transformed from one of regret and remorse to one of happiness and great expectations.
Wow! Could I have done that? I hope I never have to find out.
In Holland during World War II, a family used their home as a refuge for those being hunted by the Nazis. This was their way of living out their Christian faith. As a result of their actions, four members of the family lost their lives and two sisters spent horrific months in the infamous Ravensbruck concentration camp. One of the sisters died but Corrie ten Boom survived.
After the war, Corrie was determined to share the message that God helps us to forgive. After speaking to a group of people in Germany who still suffered from the ravages of the war, a man approached her. She recognized him as one of the cruelest guards in the camp.
“You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,” he said. “I was a guard there…But since that time,…I have become a Christian.” He explained that he had sought God’s forgiveness for the cruel things he had done. He extended his hand and asked, “Will you forgive me?”
Corrie ten Boom then said:
“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. The message that God forgives has a… condition: that we forgive those who have injured us…
“’ help me!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’
“Woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. As I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.
“’ I forgive you, brother,’ I cried. ‘With all my heart.’
For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.” (Corrie ten Boom, “Tramp for the Lord” (1974), pp. 54-55.)
It is my hope that I never have to experience the depth of forgiveness that was required of these people. Even so, I have experienced in some small degree the healing that comes from laying down the burden of hurt, ill will and wanting to “get even” that often comes as a result of some real or perceived injustice.
It is written that God will forgive whom He will forgive but of us it is required to forgive all men.
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