Find Joy: Forgive and Ask for Forgiveness

Find Joy: Forgive and Ask for Forgiveness

Shaunti FeldhahnBy Shaunti Feldhahn5 Minutes

Excerpt from Find Joy: A Devotional Journey to Unshakable Wonder in an Uncertain World by Shaunti Feldhahn

Day 3

“[H]er many sins are forgiven, so she showed great love. But the person who is forgiven only a little will love only a little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” — LUKE 7:47-48, NCV

She Who Has Been Forgiven Much, Loves Much

On February 3, 1998, I was watching TV, transfixed to hear the last words of Karla Faye Tucker, age thirty-nine. Her face filled with peace, she spoke to one particular family: “I would like to say to all of you . . . that I am so sorry. I hope God will give you peace with this. . . . I am going to be face-to-face with Jesus now. . . . I love all of you very much. I will see you all when you get there. I will wait for you.”

Tucker was about to receive the death penalty for murdering a man and woman in their bedroom—with a pickaxe. Their family members, allowed to watch her sentence being carried out, showed the full gamut of emotion. Some were exhausted and relieved to be at the end of the journey. Others had tight jaws and bitter eyes. Who could blame them?

The crazy thing is how Tucker looked. For months, as the news had followed her journey, I was stunned by her open, joyful countenance. Surrounded by barbed wire, she looked free. In prison, she had come to know Jesus as her Savior. She was overwhelmed with sorrow for how she had ruined so many lives. But then she heard the almost unbelievable truth: SHE WAS FORGIVEN!

Jesus had paid the eternal penalty for her sins. Yes, she would receive the civil penalty of death here. But she would receive life everlasting, saved from the darkness she knew she deserved. Facing that reality, how could she not be joyful? And how could she not pray for that same peace to come to those she had wronged, even in her last moments?

As the sentence was carried out and Tucker breathed her last, the news station showed pictures of Tucker from right after the crime, twelve years before. She looked like a different person; a woman whose face was hard, angry, hateful. The cameras turned to the family and friends waiting outside the prison, many of whose faces were hard. Angry. Then the news flashed an image of her peaceful, loving face as she waited to die.

The messages shouted from the screen. She who has been forgiven much, loves much. One who forgives, finds freedom. And when we find true forgiveness, we find joy.

Very few people are murderers, yet Jesus said even anger or cursing someone deserves eternal judgment (Matthew 5:21-22). How many of us have had bitter anger in our hearts? God says, truly, every one of us deserves death (Romans 3:10; 6:23). Once we grasp the depth of our sin and accept the immensity of God’s love and forgiveness, it changes everything.


Have you ever truly come to terms with the darkness in your heart and just what God has saved you from? It is so easy to think of ourselves as “good people” instead of realizing the incredible forgiveness we’ve been given. Jot down some of the little and big ways you try to get your own way, live your own life, and in the process, hurt others and hurt the heart of the Father. Then thank Him for His incredible forgiveness in Jesus.

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