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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Experiment (02/16/12)

TITLE: The Forgiveness Factor
By Sandra Eastridge
02/22/12


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Laurel declined Colby’s offer to drive her home. She needed to walk. To think. She saw the puzzled look on his face but she could not explain her actions to him just now. There were feelings to sort out: anger, hurt, frustration . . .

She thought back to the night Dora showed up, full of spite and making accusations. Dora had burst in on their midweek prayer service. She told them all that she was pregnant, unwed, and that Colby was the baby’s father. Dora was very convincing and Laurel might have believed her except for the look of absolute shock on Colby’s face.

True he had left their little town several years ago and she had heard no word from him in all that time. Then one cold, rain swept night he just simply walked back into her life.

He had quite a story to tell. Where he had been and what he had been doing and why he was back. Colby said he had given his heart to God and now he wanted to be a preacher. A preacher! As if that was not shocking enough he said he loved her and wanted to marry her. Just like that. Just walk in out of the rain and declare his love as though ten years of living did not stand between them.

Now here they were one year later. Colby was pastoring their small church and they were engaged to be married. But after this evening’s Bible study Laurel knew she could not be the wife of a minister unless she truly, once and for all, forgave Dora.

How many times did Jesus say to forgive? Seventy times seven? Then could you stop forgiving? Her mind went back to that night not long after Colby had come home. She thought of how she had slipped her hand into Colby’s offering him her strength and support. He had not looked at her but he had squeezed her hand telling her all she needed to know. Then he asked to speak with Dora alone.

No one knew what had transpired between them in that private meeting except that on the next Sunday Dora had walked to the front of the church and with a face serene and lovely she had confessed her lie. The real father of her baby and fled, leaving her to face the shame alone. She and Colby had been romantically involved while he was in Virginia and although it was more on her side than his in her desperation she thought to force Colby into marriage. Instead when he spoke privately to her that night he had told her of his conversion and then led her to the Lord.

The entire flock enveloped Dora as though she had always been a member of their church and no one ever again mentioned how she came to be among them. But even though Dora was now happily married Laurel could feel nothing for her except a slow burn when she thought how Dora had tried to ruin Colby’s life, and hers.

In tonight’s service Colby had challenged them to examine their hearts to see if there was any unforgiveness there. He reminded them the Bible said if we did not forgive, God would not forgive us. Colby said to consider this an experiment in forgiveness.

Dora looked to the starlit sky. She thought of the great God who had created this magnificent display. Who was she to be disobedient to his majesty and love? He loved Dora. Jesus had died for her too. If Laurel refused to forgive, her sin was as great as Dora’s had been. At that moment grace washed away Laurel’s bitterness. “God I do forgive her,” she whispered.

Laurel felt the chains binding her heart slip away. A love for Dora she never thought possible filled her heart. Laurel turned and quickly made her way toward Colby’s house. She would gladly climb mountains and cross rivers for the privilege to serve God along side this wonderful man. She could not wait to tell him how the forgiveness experiment had already worked in her life.


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This article has been read 181 times
Member Comments
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CD Swanson 02/23/12
Simply put...beautiful. Fabulous job with the topic, and a glorious message.
Thank you. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/23/12
This is an intriguing story. Forgiveness doesn't always come easy. Your words made me think of the Ash Wed Service in my church. How grateful I am to approach Easter with the knowledge that Christ will forgive me. Great story.
Hiram Claudio02/28/12
A wonderful message on forgiveness. I really liked, at the end, when you describe unforgiveness as "chain" falling off. That is SO true. Nice job!
Leola Ogle 02/28/12
I love this simple story of forgiveness! Well done! God bless!