Radiant Joy

Her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.
Luke 7:47

On February 3, 1998, Karla Faye Tucker was executed for murdering two people during an attempted robbery. Her story made national news, not only because she would be the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War, but also because she had become a Christian while in prison.

Tucker spoke freely about the source of her joy: the forgiveness of God. Early in her prison sentence she had "stolen" a Bible from a prison-ministry group, not knowing it was free. She began reading, then crying, then asking God to forgive her.

"That's when the whole weight of what I did fell on me," she described later. "I realized for the first time that I had brutally murdered two people and there were people out there hurting because of me. Yet God was saying, ‘I love you.' "

Tucker lived out a Christ-given peace, bringing many of her fellow prisoners to a deeper understanding of their need for forgiveness. Her story is a beautiful reminder to those who fear that forgiveness is a passive response to wrongdoing. True forgiveness does not gloss over sin but shows us how sinful we are—and how good God is. True forgiveness leaves no one unchanged.

Prayer 

Father, I acknowledge your love for me and ask forgiveness for__________ today.

Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.