The folks who live across the street from us are fantastic neighbors. They have a teenage daughter. You are assuming that those first two sentences imply that some drama is involved in this story. You would be correct in that assumption.
A few months ago, I heard some screaming coming from outside. The teenager was involved in a confrontation with her parents. She was using inappropriate language and was a little violent in her actions. Later the parents met with us to apologize for what had happened. They were embarrassed by the actions of their daughter.
Fast forward to the present. The mother of the teenager is now dying of cancer. Her body has aged by years in the past couple of weeks. I’m not sure how many weeks or months she may have in this life.
On Tuesday evening, I was returning home from a growth group gathering with folks from our church. As I exited the car, the teenage girl approached me. We chit-chatted for a moment. Then she began to apologize and ask for my forgiveness for her actions months ago.
I could see the tears welling up and her entire countenance began to change. She was genuinely heartbroken by her actions. I accepted her apology and gave her a hug. Before we parted both of us had huge smiles on our faces.
This morning I saw her mother outside. She was freshly home from the hospital. They have cancelled her chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She wants to spend whatever time she has left lucid and around her family. We began to chat. The conversation turned to her daughter’s confession to me. The mother welled up with her own tears. She was elated and thrilled that her daughter had taken that step on her own.
How powerful is this kind of confession? It brought joy to me. It brought relief from a burden for the teenager. More importantly, it brought joy to a dying mother.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
–Isaiah 1:18, ESV