A double betrayal: forgiven
The two men walked onto the church stage without killing each other. That was a miracle.
Eleven years previously, they’d been best mates. Then one day, the first man – a father of four – found out that the second man had committed adultery with his wife. Divorce followed in what the first man described as a double betrayal.
A Double Betrayal
“It was like a death to me,” the first man said, in front of the shocked and silent congregation at MBM Rooty Hill. “I would’ve liked someone to have shot me in the head to be honest because the pain was really unbearable.”
Anger, pain, revenge, bitterness… any one of these could’ve overpowered the first man, especially each night as he returned home to an empty house echoing with the reminder of the destruction brought upon his life. But instead of spiralling into despair, he was reminded of his own sinful past and how he’d found mercy at the foot of the cross of Christ.
Prayer for forgiveness
Remarkably, he prayed to Jesus for help in forgiving the second man as he didn’t have the strength to do so on his own.
As the years passed, the Lord answered his prayer. The second man became convicted of his wickedness and wrote a confession to the first man, asking for his forgiveness. The first man did so. That was grace – a hard, difficult grace that continually needed to be scooped from the deepest, most difficult of wells, but grace nonetheless.
Sitting next to him on that stage the second man wept as he carried out one of the hardest acts of his life: publicly saying sorry to his friend, his former wife, his son, their wider families, the church and, most importantly, Jesus.
The difference Jesus makes
“I brought shame and pain to a lot of people and I caused a lot of hurt to a lot of people within MBM and it’s something that I can’t change,” the second man said.
But by being forgiven by the first man, the second man had been shown “that Jesus is actually real” – that the worst of sins can be forgiven.
Giving an insight into the mind of a Christian who has fallen, the second man told the congregation:
“One of the biggest things is self-respect. You lose that respect that you have for yourself. You think: ‘I did that?’ And when you do that, the Evil One comes along and starts to play games and says, ‘You’re not forgiven. God won’t do that.’ But as time grows on and as relationships grow, it’s just continuously shown me that Jesus wins every time.”
Slowly, bit by bit, the friendship between the two men was rebuilt, but then tragedy struck again: the first man was diagnosed with bone cancer. Who was the person who sat beside him, taking time off work to sit and read the Bible? The second man. That was Christ-like.
Their testimony should be required viewing at all Sydney churches. It’s one of the strongest warnings about the devastation of sin as well as one of the most powerful messages about restoration.