To Be Forgiven Is a Gift

By David Alexander

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That crunching sound made my heart stand still.

I had an experience when I was 13 that I will never forget. I was hanging out with some friends in my room when one friend asked me about my brothers. So I took them over to my 17-year-old brother Matt’s room, right next to mine. He was not home at the time.

Matt was so cool. I showed them all of his things: his cool shoe collection, the things he had made by hand, and all of the pictures on his mirror of his high school friends. My friends were impressed.

Then, something horrible happened. I heard a crunching sound under my foot, so I lifted it up and saw a small pouch. Immediately, my heart sank. Right away I knew that inside this pouch was one of my brother’s most prized possessions, an expensive pair of sunglasses.

I panicked. I put the pouch under a pair of jeans on the floor, and we quickly left the room. The rest of the day was a nightmare. I tried to forget about it, but I knew he would find out. All I could do was wait.

The next morning I stayed in bed, still haunted with anxiety. I knew I could not outwit fate. Then it happened. He had found the broken sunglasses, and he was furious. I could hear him downstairs in the family room talking to my other brothers, demanding that the perpetrator confess his crime.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew he wouldn’t stop until someone confessed. So I grabbed all the money I had earned from my newspaper route and slowly walked down the stairs. This was one of the longest walks I have ever taken.

Finally, I came up to my brother. Matt slowly turned to me, and I handed him the wad of cash. “I did it,” I said. No one said a word. I just turned around, walked up the stairs, and got back in bed.

I felt awful for what I had done. I did not know what my brother was going to do. I felt helpless. I didn’t expect Matt to forgive me, but I hoped he would. Then, I heard his voice say my name.

“David, I know you didn’t mean it,” Matt said. He placed the money I gave him on my nightstand. “You earned this money, and I can’t accept it.”

Filled with emotion, I said, “I’m sorry, Matt!” He replied with the most sincere words I have ever heard: “I forgive you.”

We both wept. This was the first time in my young life that I understood how it felt to be truly forgiven. It may be the most powerful human experience one can have, and I praise those who have the courage to give forgiveness.

Illustration by Dilleen Marsh