CCS Perspectives: A Demonstration of Forgiveness
Forgiveness. How often do we hear that word in our Christian faith and walk with our Savior? It is one of the staples for following Jesus - and let’s be real - it’s one of the hardest things He asks us to do. We can say it and pray it all we want, but at the end of the day I just have one question: What exactly does forgiveness look like? Recently at the Frederickson campus, God put it on brilliant display for us.
A short backstory: Mrs. deVries had been talking with the kids a few months back in Chapel about forgiveness. She revealed how she had been mean to a particular classmate in her younger years and how it haunted her. She was able to contact this woman and ask for forgiveness. As only God could do, this woman not only gave forgiveness, but continued to communicate with Mrs. Devries - and ultimately accepted an invitation to present their story at Chapel Day.
It would be easy to give all the credit to Mrs. deVries for her bravery and boldness to contact this woman decades later and admit her shortcomings. It was also be even easier to praise the former classmate for her humility and even responding back to Mrs. Devries in the first place. And easiest of all would be to give full permission to this woman to hold a grudge and act bitterly. However, I think the best thing about this entire situation is how both women highlighted the work of God, and not the work of self. It is through the strength God gives us that we are able to talk about difficult, embarrassing experience for the benefit of our children. Our future depends on it.
While I watched the curious, young faces attempt to absorb the presentation at chapel, my eyes then moved to the adults and parents. Teary-eyed and intently taking mental notes, as a parent I’m pretty sure I knew what they all were thinking: Our children have no idea how big a lesson this is! As parents we are hoping that with continued exposure to humble examples such as these, they would just dwell on the character traits of Jesus. I believe we were all praying that even one sentence of this chapel lesson would stick in their sweet minds forever.
Chapel ended. Many parents and teachers approached our out-of-town guest to hug her, encourage her and thank her for allowing God to work through her. I love how we hug strangers at our campus. I love that we welcome people from anywhere. I love how we encourage and lift up others relentlessly. I love seeing people praying together randomly in the hallways. If someone new walks into our environment, we strive to know and accept them.
Forgiveness can look different for everyone, but I love how it heals beyond the people directly involved. A story about childhood sin brought a campus closer, created more understanding, and connected people two states away. The pain of two young ladies was used to perfection decades later for the betterment of many, all the credit, glory, and praise goes directly to God.
You can see the chapel service here: