In this Easter season, I have been thinking about the importance of redemption. Over the years, by virtue of circulation in political circles, I have known personally some people involved in public scandals. The world watches as the media follows them relentlessly for days, weeks, or even months and then evaporates, leaving behind a scene of complete and utter self-inflicted personal destruction. Some of these folks are often distraught to the point of suicide.
What the cameras don’t show is what happens after the hoopla dies down. Sometimes these folks turn inward and become bitter and permanently broken, but not always. The untold stories are the others, the ones who are open to healing and saving grace.
I had the privilege of reflecting on redemption not long ago through the eyes of a woman whose husband was recently the object of a very public humiliation. She spoke about the many, many acts of love and compassion that have been shown to their family.
Members of a local church congregation have come forward to help in tangible ways, but also by sharing their own stories of brokenness and the healing of Christ’s forgiveness and restoration. One woman texted my friend, “Call me, I can help you: signed a survivor of an international sex scandal.”
No one likes to remember their past mistakes, but when they are viewed in the context of sins atoned for by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross then they become only a chapter of a story of victory and healing, not the last chapter. In most cases, the final story is much more important than the earlier narrative.
I was shocked recently when my daughter confessed distaste at the fact that my dear friend and mentor, Chuck Colson, served time in prison.
My husband and I both laughed as she stared at us in confusion.
Taking advantage of a teachable moment, we were then able to point out to her that Colson’s disgrace led him to the foot of the Cross, and from there he has become one of the greatest Christian heroes of our time.
Without the public brokenness, Colson would have never become the man that God has used to minister to literally millions of people, many of whom are or were in prison.
That’s called Grace, and it is at the crux of the Easter story.
As Christians, we believe that Christ, the Son of God, died specifically not for “the righteous, but sinners.” Who is a sinner? Well, all of us. Every single one of us who has ever been unkind, lied, or been disobedient. Yes, all of it counts. He was the only sinless man ever born, and yet, He stepped in to take our punishment and, in the process, conquered sin and ultimately death. He rose to new life and indeed, through his atonement, offers a clean slate before a Holy God. That’s what Easter is all about.
I know it’s interesting to read and watch bad people “get theirs” or to even feel a sense of self-righteousness perhaps watching the lives of Hollywood elites and political figures come crashing down because of bad choices and dishonesty. But we need to remember that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
I stand with countless other broken humans over the millennia who claim Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. He is risen for all the people caught in scandals, and for those who were never caught, and for those who are just plain broken. I, like the Apostle Paul, stand with the sinners “of whom I am the chief.”
Jesus on the Cross took the punishment I deserve for my sins and now because of His resurrection I stand forgiven by His grace. He will do the same for you as He has done for other sinners just like us. He is risen indeed!