“…a brother beloved, specially to me.”
Philemon 16 (KJV)
I have known this friend for many years. I had heard about him some time before meeting him. His story will be the substance of a book I hope to write. His journey through life is most interesting as it dramatically illustrates the power of God in a person’s life.
He became a rebel as a young person and fell in with the wrong crowd. Stealing and lying were second nature to him. Finally he became a hardened criminal and spent years behind bars. Along the way he kept on bumping into believers who showed kindness to him. His Christian sister who provided housing for some time and a Christian police officer who took him to church, were among others who spoke to him about Jesus.
He told me that he would rather beat you up than listen to you talk about the Lord. He developed a long criminal record and was jailed for many crimes including armed robbery and attempted murder. At long last he had his eyes opened to the wonders of Jesus and was given a new heart so he could then love and serve the Saviour.
As he told me about his past today at lunch he came to the part about applying for a Queen’s pardon. He was wanting a pardon because he felt the Lord was leading him to become a missionary abroad and He could never obtain a visa to enter another country with a criminal record.
A Queen’s pardon was unheard of in the days when he applied for it. It took some years and a lot of research by the R.C.M.P., the National Parole Board and many others. My friend was giving up hope of ever receiving his pardon. Then one day he received a notice in the mail that a registered item was waiting for him at another post office. When he collected it there was a statement on the envelope that read, “On Her Majesty’s Service”.
He opened the envelope and inside was a statement that listed all his past convictions and then he read the words, “For reasons that seemeth right to Me, I pardon all the past offences.” He had his Queen’s pardon at last. Tears glistened in my friend’s eyes as he spoke to me today about how receiving that document was a most wonderful experience to him.
Now, when my friend speaks about his Queen’s pardon he also says that he has received a pardon from the King of Kings, Jesus Christ Himself. Just as his criminal record in Canada has been removed, so his sins have been removed by Jesus and he is free from the guilt of his crimes in God’s court.
My friend treasures nothing he possesses in life the way he takes joy from being a twice pardoned man. Being forgiven by God makes us rich in this life regardless of how poor we may be in the eyes of others. Your bank account may be empty, your emotional resources may be minimal, your physical strength almost gone. It is insignificant compared with the treasure of God’s pardon. Look for your pardon from God by coming to Jesus and asking for forgiveness of your sin and turning to live the life that pleases God.