In 2003, Kyle Beebe was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. He was fined and sentenced to three years of supervised probation. Although he had served his sentence, the conviction remained on his record permanently, and would cause potential employers to take a second look at him before they hired him for any job. After all, who wants a “former” drug dealer as their employee? How long before he goes back to his drug-dealing ways and damages the reputation of your establishment?
In 2014, Kyle wrote a letter to the Arkansas governor, Mike Beebe, requesting pardon for his offense. Yes, you read the last name right. The governor was Kyle’s father. Within weeks the pardon was to be issued, but as I read the news story, one question nagged my mind: Why did the governor and father wait so long (11 years since the conviction!) to issue a pardon to his own son? According to CNN, the recommendation for pardon came only after Kyle, the son, wrote a lengthy letter to the governor along with his pardon application. An excerpt from the letter reads:
“Mr. Governor, I am asking for a second chance at life. I am asking for a second chance to be the man that I know that I can be.”
“At the time of my arrest I was living in a fantasy world, not reality. I was young and dumb. At that time in my life I felt like I was missing something and I tried to fill that emptiness by selling drugs.”
In response, the governor and father had this to say:
“I would have [pardoned him] a long time ago if he’d have asked, but he took his sweet time about asking.”
The forgiveness, the erasing of the guilt by way of pardon, was readily available, but the child had to return in humility to his father, showing a penitent heart, before forgiveness could be given. How often do we retain our own guilt because we are too proud to confess our mistakes before God and ask for forgiveness? Remember the teachings of John in 1 John 1:8-9:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Those who have become children of God through obedience to the gospel need only to humbly and penitently confess our sins before our Father, and He is more than willing to forgive us, to offer us the pardon we continually need.
When is the last time you bowed before God in prayer, specifically noting those sins which you had committed, for which you need His forgiveness? When is the last time you spoke to your brother or sister in Christ, requesting their forgiveness for a wrong you committed against them?
Pride is a powerful emotion to overcome. So often it is the reason we refuse to confess our sins and seek forgiveness from God and our spiritual family. Make no mistake, we are all ashamed of choices we have made. The beauty of Christianity, however, is that Jesus loves us enough to bear that shame for us, if we will let Him. God is ready to forgive, are you ready to humble yourself and seek Him out?