Monday, June 26, 2006


I recently had the pleasure to read Morris Dees' account the civil rights trial of James Knowles. Michael Donald, a young black man from Mobile, Alabama, had been lynched. Knowles was charged with his murder. On the stand, Knowles turned to Donald's mother and asked her forgiveness. In a quiet voice, she replied that she already had.

She already had. She had forgiven him before he had asked forgiveness.

What do we say of Donald's mother and her act of forgiveness? I can think to say only this: she was a great woman.

One can be forgiven and yet never have asked for forgiveness. Moreover, if one waits to forgive, one is not as great as those who forgive immediately. The great forgive even when forgiveness is not asked.

Why then do so many insist that God does not forgive unless we do some such thing as place our trust in Christ? This makes God seem less good than Donald's mother. God forgives all immediately.

I know the reply that will be made: God's justice demands that a price be paid for every sin. But this makes God's mercy subordinate to God's justice, and thus is just backwards. Before all else, God is love and thus His justice is subordinated to His love.

1 comment:

forgive said...

Forgiveness is much more that some conscious notation. It must be thorough, through and through, from the inside out. There is a powerful free tool to help with this at