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Special Ministries News
She didn’t know
By Rev. Rick Tuttle
She didn’t know. That surprised me. She didn’t know that God had already forgiven her.
She was the only one who came to Bible class that day. I had actually met her before during a previous incarceration. I knew she was a Christian. She was as I remembered: positive, cheerful, polite, and respectful.
She wanted to tell me what happened. I listened. She told me about an addiction to alcohol. She told me that because of past charges and arrests, she had just spoiled her last chance before the judge that she would shortly face. She was scared and ashamed. Her tears and her words, the former falling faster and the latter becoming more difficult to understand, told me that her repentance was genuine.
I maintained a friendly smile; a smile that reassured her that I heard her and I cared about her. It wasn’t so hard to maintain; I did hear her and I did care about her.
We began to work through the lesson that I had come to teach. It was about Jesus, true God and true man at the same time. As true God, Jesus could save us; as true man, Jesus did save us, serving as our substitute and absorbing all God’s anger and judgment against the sins of every individual who has ever lived or will live. You and I know this fact so well we might take it for granted. It was a fact that had completely escaped her. And that surprised me.
I knew she was a Christian. I assumed she knew the basics. But in her training as a Christian, she had been taught that having God’s forgiveness meant having to do something or be something or pay something. I’m not exactly sure where the hole was in her understanding, but something was missing.
She told me that she had given God no reason to forgive her. I told her that God in his mercy didn’t need a reason to forgive her. I said, “Listen! Whether you know it or not, the facts are true. Whether you believe it or not, your sins are paid for. You can’t spoil that, improve on it, or in any way alter the facts. You are forgiven.” That surprised her.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:13: “If we are faithless, he [God] will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” We are so often faithless. But when we in repentance confess our sins before God, he in his faithfulness, promises to forgive us, no matter what we have done or how many times we have done it.
What a privilege to share the gospel with this young woman. It’s not just a privilege reserved for a pastor. This opportunity is available for both pastors and laypersons alike through our Jail Ministry Training Team (JMTT). For more information on the JMTT, please call 320-329-3826.
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