Understanding Forgiveness
19 Dec 2009

by Mary Esther Wacaster
What is forgiveness like? Well, here is a little parable that might help us understand, but now that I have it written down, it doesn’t seem so striking as it did when my head lay upon my pillow.
A woman put wood into her iron stove to heat the house. Her little four year old, being warmed and comfortable, began playing close to the stove. The woman warned him not to touch the hot stove, but he kept playing and getting dangerously close. After warning him the second time, she scolded him and told him he must obey her. Forgetting again, he got too close, tripped and a hand fell upon the hot stove.
Now he had done it! and an angry mother was coming toward him, yet weeping as she came. Was he going to be spanked and scolded? He knew he had disobeyed and that was a no-no. Crying not only from the pain, but from feeling guilty, he kept saying “I’m sorry! Won’t do it again!”
The woman picked him up, but was gentle, and said that it would be all-right, but that she had told him and that he disobeyed, and that maybe now he would listen to her. But she was tender in her care of the hand until it healed completely; still, he had to suffer the consequences of the pain.
That is the feeling of true forgiveness. Parallel it to God and man in the Garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s warnings, God expelled them from the Garden. He was angry and hurt, but hoped that now man would listen to Him; yet He was tender in His care until He could call man back to be healed completely.