Only God’s Forgiveness Counts
Rachael Denhollander—you know her. She’s the gymnast sexually abused by Larry Nasser when she was barely fifteen under the guise of a medical procedure. She was the persistent woman who fought to get her law degree, wrestled through the devastation of false guilt, attacks from Michigan State and the world of Olympic gymnastics, and even the rejection of her church as she tried to expose a sexual predator who used his medical degree, his reputation, and his friendships as a license to violate little girls.
She was the first woman to publicly accuse Nasser, and she was the last woman to confront him in court at his sentencing hearing. After laying out point by point the horror of Nasser’s actions, she asked, ‘How much is a little girl worth?” and then urged Judge Aquilina to lay down a punishment that told the nation and the world that this kind of evil against little girls and young women would be fully recognized as evil and stopped. But in the midst of her righteous anger, Rachael had this to say directly to her abuser:
“If you have read the Bible you carry, you know the definition of sacrificial love portrayed is of God, himself, loving so sacrificially that he gave up everything to pay a penalty for the sin he did not commit. By his grace, I, too, choose to love this way.
You spoke of praying for forgiveness. But Larry, if you have read the Bible you carry, you know forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what you have done. It comes from repentance which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen this courtroom today.
If the Bible you carry says it is better for a stone to be tied around your neck and you thrown into a lake than for you to make even one child stumble. And you have damaged hundreds.
The Bible you speak of carries a final judgment where all of God's wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you. Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing. And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet, because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you.”
How can Rachael know that if Larry Nasser genuinely repents, he can find forgiveness in Jesus? That was the question so intensely debated by the religious experts in Capernaum when instead of just healing a paralytic, Jesus said, “Your sins are forgiven.” Who does have the authority on earth to forgive sins and it counts?
“And entering again into Capernaumafter some days, it was heard that he was in the house. So many were gathered that there was no room, not even space near the door, and Jesus kept right on speaking the Word to them. Now four folks were coming, carrying a paralytic to Jesus. And when they were not able to get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they got above Jesus on the roof, tore open a section, and lowered the paralytic down on the pallet where he was lying. And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, ‘Child, your sins are sent away!’
Now some of the legal religious experts were sitting there and they began to internally question, ‘Why is this man speaking like this? He blasphemes; for who is able to forgive sins, except one--God!’ Immediately, Jesus knew in his spirit what they were saying in their hearts, so he said this to them, ‘Why are you having this internal debate? What is easier to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are sent away! Or to say, ‘Get up and take your pallet and walk away?’ But that you might know that the Son of Man has authority to send away sins on the earth— Then he said to the paralytic, ‘Get up, take your pallet, and go home!’
Immediately, he got up, picked up his pallet, and went out in front of everyone. And everyone was besides themselves, glorifying God, saying, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this!’” Mark 2:1-12
LORD, thanks that Jesus, your Son, does have the authority to forgive sins, including Larry Nasser’s. I join Rachael in praying that he will come to true repentance, and thanks that you know what’s actually going on inside so that there will be no forgiveness unless the confession before you is true.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!