Forgiveness like None Other
Falling, I’m falling into a black murky darkness that surrounds my very soul. No sounds, no life, and no feeling of the body that was once mine. It is a great burning blackness, completely cut off from all other humanity. It is void of all things and it is pressing upon my mind cutting off thoughts and memories. The joyful times spent with family and friends are disappearing and great pain is filling my whole head. I hear a haunting voice saying, “You did not follow me or keep my commands, depart from me and take your place in the lake of fire.”
It is then that I wake up. Sweat pours down my face blocking my vision and falling into my mouth. My sheets are drenched and my pillow sopping with my perspiration. I slowly climb out of bed and look at the alarm clock. The thick red numbers blare into my face, it is two-o’clock in the morning. I open my window and take a deep breath relishing in the crisp coolness of the early morning air. The sounds of crickets comfort my soul and fill the night with their glorious music. I bring my hand up to my face and wipe my brow when a haunting image comes into my minds eye.
A bruised, bloody, man slowly walks down a narrow street jam packed with thousands of people. A procession of soldiers dressed in red follow in front and behind him. He stumbles under the weight of a huge, coarse, wooden beam. His knees clotted with blood come crashing to the ground and he groans. He slowly brings his hand to his face and wipes the sweat from his face.
I’m back in my room shaking from the experience. I can’t get the hurt and betrayal in the man’s face out of my mind. But there was something else on his face that my mind just can’t grasp. Something, in his eyes that will drive me insane until I find out what it was.
I crawl back into my bed shaking my head and hoping that the rest of my night will be spent in dreamless sleep. I pull the purple quilt under my chin and cuddle into the warmth of my soft green sheets. I put my head down on my blue flannel pillow and am instantly plunged into another dream.
This time the bloodied man is stumbling up a steep hill with labored steps. I can tell he is finding it hard to breath because of the great heaving in his chest. The parade comes to a halt on the top of this hill. I shudder with an involuntary reaction to this gruesome and haunting hill. There is a presence all around me that feels like millions of tons of energy straining to get out of a locked up area. A battle seems to rage as my body is pushed and pulled to the pushing presence of beings that I can not see. I watch as the disfigured man is thrown onto two wooden beams laid out on the ground. I try not to scream as the guard pounds nails into the man’s hands. The man cries out in great pain again and again as the other nails are pounded into his two hands and his ankles. The crudely made cross is thrown into the ground jarring the man’s body. The man hangs there gasping for breath while people mock and taunt him. They are saying things in a language that I do not understand. The man looks up to heaven and cries, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” My body shakes with tears and anger as I watch this horrible event. He whispers softly, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do!” And then he dies.
I’m struck with the shock and amazement of the words that had just come from this man’s voice. He was asking God to forgive these cruel violent men to forgive the wrong that they had done to him. The tears fall from my eyes like a waterfall. It was then that I realized what was in the man’s eyes as he was walking to his death. It was forgiveness.
I know what I’m going to do with my life and what decision I will make. I will choose to follow the king of kings, lord of lords, and almighty God. What choice will you make this day? Will you choose to accept the great gift of forgiveness that this man called Jesus offers you?