On Sunday night, I caught most of the “60 Minutes” interview with Bernie Madoff’s wife and son. Mr. Madoff is the admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest financial fraud in US History, totaling somewhere between $12 billion and $20 billion.
Both his wife and son have ceased communication with Bernie, as he serves several consecutive life sentences in prison. His other son committed suicide almost a year ago because of the shame of his father’s crimes. At the end of the interview, Bernie’s son said, “I have not spoken to him since it all came out and I will never speak to him again. I will never forgive him for what he did to our family.”
Those words stung my ears as I have been reciting Colossians 3:13b daily for almost a year now, “forgiving each other, AS THE LORD HAS FORGIVEN YOU.” As a Christian, I am certainly not exempt from being hurt, even in grievous ways, but I am called to forgiveness, not on the basis of the sin against me, but on the basis of MY FORGIVEN SIN AGAINST JESUS. I am called to remember my sin and how Christ graciously forgives me of MY grievous offenses. Definitive fruit of the Gospel in my life is graciously offering that same forgiveness to others. I need to continually convince my heart that I am first, ‘sinner‘, and second, ‘sinned against.’
I am forever grateful that Jesus didn’t say, “I will never forgive her for what she did…”