Tormented, grieved, forsaken. Oh, what pain he felt inside,
Beset by views of ugly news, from which he could not hide!
He knew he should dismiss past hurts still screaming to avenge
The wrongs that so besieged his heart, but he desired revenge.
“It’s closure I must have,” he said. “That is the path to peace.
For only then can I enjoy the fruit of sweet release,
And satisfy the anger which has locked me in this cage.
To free myself from prison, I must first appease my rage.”
Such thoughts, like sharp two-edged swords, clashed wildly inside his mind;
Chaotic clangs, with violence tinged, set to a beat unkind.
He did not see the torturers whose pitchforks, dipped in fire,
Stirred coals of shame inside his heart to magnify his ire.
“It’s not your fault,” they told him, “for the way they treated you.”
“Your hatred’s justified. Those were such awful things to do!”
But still the guilt kept hounding. He could not escape the blame.
“You too have sinned horrifically, and ridiculed God’s name.”
Fear gripped his heart with condemnation he could not ignore.
If God was mad at him, then there was nothing to live for.
He knew he must forgive and must forget but was afraid
That he’d get stolen from again and never be repaid.
He didn’t trust the sovereign Lord to care for all his needs,
But bought the lie that debt forgiveness rests upon good deeds,
He said, “I’m doomed to earn my bread by my own toil and sweat,
Let him who owes me foot the bill. Let him repay the debt.”
But what a yoke to put upon an ordinary man!
He knew it wasn’t right, and yet he had no better plan.
His blood pressure was through the roof, he wasn’t feeling well.
Then suddenly a light shone in the darkness of his cell.
The Son of God was standing there. His glory filled the room.
“I paid your debt in full,” He said. “Why all this gloom and doom?”
“I thought you were a hard man, Sir,” replied the man, amazed.
“I thought I must fend for myself, for that’s how I was raised.”
“But now I see it isn’t so. There’s no cause for alarm.
For, though you’re greatly to be feared, you’d never do me harm.”
“That’s right,” said Jesus. “All I ask of you is to believe,
In my unfailing goodness trust, and of my grace receive.”
“Remember how I shed my blood to wash away your sin.
In me, there’s life. In man, there’s death. Stick with me and you’ll win.”
“Why ask a man to pay you back for all the things he stole,
When, by my stripes, you can be healed? For I will make you whole.”
And the moral of this poem is that forgiveness involves trusting God to pay back what the enemy stole from you, instead of demanding that some fallible human being supply your need. Yes, God can use people to provide for you, but they’re just tools in His hands. Our trust must be in Him, for He alone is faithful to the end.