How can I forgive that?

How can I forgive that?

Forgiveness is, like, a big deal.

I’m a Christian and, since I can remember, I’ve known that forgiveness is a big deal.

God can forgive my sins through Jesus (Ephesians 1:7, 1 John 1:8-2:2). That’s a big deal.

Jesus calls me to forgive others (Luke 17:1-4). That’s another big deal.

Bringing those two big deals together is a part of the most famous prayer ever, the Lord’s Prayer— “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

But why am I going on about forgiveness? I just read about 14-year-old Ashley Smith and, wow, I’m almost speechless. What that girl has been able to forgive is, quite simply, amazing.


Burned as a baby, and…

When Ashley was 14-months-old in 2002, her mother put her in an oven. I didn’t even want to imagine the third-degree burns to Ashley’s little body, let alone look at the pictures that were part of the news story I read.

Ashley’s mum Melissa was sentenced to 25 years in jail. She came up for parole review this week. Ashley said she was concerned for her own safety, if her mother was set free.

However, and this is the bit that got me, Ashley has forgiven her mum.


“I do not hate Melissa, but I do not love her. I forgave Melissa,” she told the Montgomery Advertiser. 

How about that? Gobsmacking, right? Jaw-dropping. Amazing.


Thanks for the reminder

I have no idea what Ashley knows or believes or feels about God, Jesus and their loving guidance on forgiveness.

But what I do know is that I already know how big a deal forgiveness is.

Yet when I think about what Ashley has forgiven, I realise how underdone and small my view and understanding of forgiveness can be.

So, thanks Ashley. Thanks for reminding me of just how big a deal forgiveness can be… and that it’s possible to do it.

Now, it’s time again to remind myself of how big a deal God’s forgiveness is, through Jesus, and how that shapes my own attitudes to forgiving others. No matter what they do.


Ben McEachen



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