Friday, July 17, 2009

Forgiveness in Room 283

Forgiveness in Room 283

KENNETH H. LIVESAY was a chaplain in a hospital. He tells this story of an incident that had a dramatic impact in his life.

THE NURSE CAME TO the room where I was visiting a patient. “Chaplain,” she said, “the woman in room 283 wants to talk with you.”

I found my way to room 283. As I seated myself in a chair near the bed the woman asked, “Chaplain, will you forgive me?”

Somewhat stunned, I replied, “I have visited with you several times, and you have never offended me in any way. What do you mean, will I forgive you?”

Then she told her story. “When I was a young woman I began to sell my body for money. This went on for some time until I discovered I had a venereal disease. It was necessary for me to have surgery to remove the diseased organs of my body. Later I married, but I never told my husband about my past life. Chaplain, I have carried the burden of my sin all of my life, and I cannot bear it any longer. You are the only person to whom I have told this story. Please, forgive me.”

I told her that she had not sinned against me, but she had violated her body and sinned against God. Then I said, “Let me share some good news with you.” Turning to 1 John 1:9, I read, “‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrigh¬teousness’” (NIV).

“How do I confess?” she asked.

‘‘We simply pray to God and ask for forgiveness.”

She said, “Will you pray, asking God to forgive me? I don’t know how to pray.

I explained that prayer is simply talking to God as we would talk to a friend. I pointed out that she had told me her story with ease. Then I told her to talk to God just as she had talked to me and ask Him to forgive her. She began to pray, asking for forgiveness. In the nearly 50 years of my min¬istry, I have never heard a prayer like hers. It was so touching that I wept.

God gave her forgiveness, and she had peace. She used to cry out in the night, but not after finding peace with herself and God.

Now this woman walked in the light (1 John 1:7). She had fellowship with God (1 John 1:7). Is there something burdening you? Christ says to us in Matthew 11: 28 -29, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…unto your souls.” He is open to hear our confession. He is faith faithful and just. He will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Will we accept His invitation?