Today, I’d like to point to a real-life story of how this has worked in the lives of two specific, modern people, Peter Woolf and Will Riley.
(photo from Daily Mail article, infra.)HERE, Woolf describes the effect this had on his life. Fundamentally, the act of forgiveness – Riley’s act of extending grace – caused a transformation in Woolf. Just like the Prodigal, Wolf turned!
Now a penitent, he has found peace.
In a recent Daily Mail UK news article (HERE), Woolf says, “I can honestly say I’m happy now, but I never was before. I was lonely, but I haven’t felt lonely for a long time, and I’ll never regret going straight [giving up drugs and crime]. Most of my friends are now policemen or people working in the prison service. It’s surreal. Here I am a thief, vagabond and a scoundrel, and I’m on speaking terms with Princess Anne, who’s the patron of the Restorative Justice Council” (accessed March 20, 2012). This does not mean there were no consequences of the crime. Woolf still served his jail time. The real meaning is more significant than what was “done” to Woolf. The most significant effect of Riley’s act of forgiveness is that it enabled Woolf to experience the power of God’s love for him, breaking the shackles of Woolf’s spiritual bondage.
I wrote just a few weeks ago about forgiveness and apology. It’s all tied up with self-righteousness and redemption. And that is also all tied up with how we are to live in relationship with others. The Fast of Isaiah 58 gives additional meaning to Romans 3:10: “There is no one righteous, no not one.” The proper attitude for all of us, no matter who we are or what we have done, is one of penitence, which shall then be reflected in the way we live our lives. Our entire life becomes an offering of thanksgiving and this, in turn, enables us to live in peace. The Fast of Isaiah 58.