Thursday, August 15, 2013

On kids, broken bones, and forgiveness

THE GIRL, about seven years old, came to the ER with a sling on her right arm. Her father held her other hand. She wore a white blouse and maroon skirt—her uniform—and bore minor abrasions on her knees.

"Ano ang nangyari? (What happened?)" I asked her.

"Tinulak po ako ng klasmeyt ko (My classmate pushed me)," she said, her eyes about to well up in tears, as if the worst deed in the world was done to her. I was taken aback because she answered me rather eloquently; often, the normal reaction I inspire from the pediatric population is wailing or gnashing of teeth.

"Ganun ba? Ano'ng pangalan ng klasmeyt mo?" (Is that so? What's your classmate's name?)

"Si Ryza po." (Ryza.)

"Friends kayo ni Ryza?" (Are you friends with Ryza?)

"Hindi na po." (Not anymore.)

Hers was quiet suffering. For a moment she looked away. I explained that we were going to do an X-ray of her arms to see if any bone was broken. She seemed to understand me.

"Mapapatawad mo ba siya sa ginawa niya sa iyo?" (Will you ever forgive her for what she did to you?)

"Hindi po (No)," she said.

I told her that in the future, I hope she will find it in her heart to forgive Ryza. Hatred hardens one's heart. To forgive is to throw away that which weighs you down. Kids and us—we're not much different, after all.

But how wonderful it is to forgive and be forgiven!

*   *   *

CHARLES Haddon Spurgeon's sermon on May 20, 1855 delivered at the Exeter Hall is an excellent piece that discusses the forgiveness of God. He takes off from Isaiah 43:25, one of my favorite passages in Scripture:

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

In the last part of his sermon, Spurgeon gets personal. In a paragraph he manages to explain the story of my life and of those who have come to believe in Jesus Christ:

I can do nothing but preach God's gospel; but since the moment Christ forgave me, I cannot help speaking of his love. I turned away from his gospel, and would have none of his reproofs. I cared not for his voice or his Word. That blessed Bible lay unread; these knees refused to bend in prayer, and my eyes looked on vanity. Has he not pardoned? Has he not forgiven? Yes. Then sooner may this tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, than cease to proclaim free-grace in all its mighty displays of electing, redeeming, pardoning, and saving mercy. Oh! how loud ought I to sing, seeing I am out of hell, and delivered from condemnation. And if I am out of hell, why should not you be? Why should I be saved and not another? It was for sinners, remember, that Jesus came. Mary Magdalene, Saul of Tarsus—the very chief of sinners, were accepted, and why do you foolishly conclude that you are cast out? Oh, poor penitent if you perish, you will be the FIRST penitent who ever did so. God give you his blessing, my dear friends, for Christ's sake. Amen.

Friends, do you realize how much you have sinned against God? Have you personally experienced His forgiveness?

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