Change of Heart
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
—1 PETER 4:8
The first time I cheated on a test, it was easy," Marilyn recalls. "The cheating itself, that is. But after I walked out of the classroom, I felt terrible. All I could think was, I've disappointed my favorite teacher. Then the test grades came out, and it felt great to be at the head of the class. So I did it again. And again.
"Somewhere near the end of that semester, the guilt got to be too much. I went over to Mrs. Marlow's desk, and before I could say anything, I burst into tears. She put her arms around me. I kept saying, ‘You don't understand,' because of course she wouldn't be comforting me if she knew what I'd done. I told her everything. The worst part was the look of sadness on her face as she listened.
"When I finished talking, she looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Marilyn, I forgive you. I'm glad you were able to tell me.'
"I received a C in physics that semester, after working hard with Mrs. Marlow after school and retaking the exams. Even with all that studying, I don't remember much about physics. I do remember how much Mrs. Marlow's forgiveness meant to me. When I became a Christian years later, I looked back at that moment as an important step toward realizing the forgiveness of Christ. Mrs. Marlow never knew what a difference her love made in my life. But she helped me see just how powerful words of forgiveness can be."
When has someone offering you their forgiveness made a difference in your life later on?