Lady Huntingdon, a member of the aristocracy in eighteenth-century England, was a zealous Evangelical Christian who heartily supported the ministry of George Whitefield. She regularly had him speak to aristocratic audiences in the drawing room of her estate mansion.
Two women of the nobility, after hearing Whitefield preach in a certain chapel, reported to Lady Huntingdon that he had declared the love of Christ was so strong “He would accept even the Devil’s castaways.” The ladies questioned the wisdom of such a statement, so Lady Huntingdon brought them to Whitefield and asked about the matter.
Whitefield affirmed having made that remark. He then told them that after that particular message an elderly woman had called on him. She had been passing the door of the chapel just as he declared, “Christ would receive even the devil’s castaways.”
“Such am I,” she confessed to the evangelist. “Do you think He will receive me?”
“He most certainly will,” Whitefield responded, “if you are but willing to go to Him.”
Their conversation ended in the woman’s thorough conversion. Lady Huntingdon afterward learned that this poor woman’s subsequent life was remarkable for its purity. At the time of her death she clearly testified that Christ had indeed washed away her crimson stains.
When Ruth Bell Graham was growing up as a missionary kid in China, one of the native servants who worked for their family was her amah Wang Nai Nai. She lived in a small room in the Bells’ house. Barely five feet tall and weighing less than a hundred pounds, cheerful wrinkles radiated from her small dark eyes. She faithfully served the family, and her Christian life had a strong impact on the Bell children.
Only after the children were grown were they told the evil life Wang Nai Nai had led before becoming a Christian. She and her husband were engaged in procuring “little flowers,” young girls to be used in prostitution in Shanghai.
After her conversion Wang Nai Nai taught herself how to read the Bible, and she loved the hymn “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” After Ruth learned of her past, she understood the nanny’s deep appreciation for the hymn’s final verse:
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That Fountain in his day.
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
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No matter how serious our sins, they can be forgiven through personal faith in Christ and His substitutionary death on the cross to receive the judgment that our transgressions deserve. Having experienced this forgiveness ourselves, we should readily help others to discover the solution for their guilt through a saving relationship with Jesus.
My book Timeless Stories, God’s Incredible Work in the Lives of Inspiring Christians contains a whole chapter of incidents, including the two related above, on the theme of “Forgiveness.” The examples in that chapter illustrate how we can receive personal forgiveness from God and, in turn, forgive others their offenses against us with the Lord’s help.
Copyright 2014 by Vance E. Christie