Forgiveness and Redemption

I recently watched the movie, I Can Only Imagine and was moved to tears by the message of forgiveness and redemption. The movie portrays the life of Bart Millard who growing up in Greenville, Texas, suffers physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father, Arthur. When Arthur becomes terminally ill, he finds redemption by embracing his faith and rediscovering his love for his son. Years later, Bart’s troubled childhood and mended relationship with his dad inspires him to write the hit son “I Can Only Imagine” as the singer of the Christian band, MercyMe. Of course, none of this happened overnight.

I thought about the message of the movie long after I had left the theater and I was reminded of the scripture found in Romans 8:28 (NIV), “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Even in difficult and horrendous times, God is there. Even when relationships are broken, God is there. God is with us and he can restore what is broken. Many times, when we look back on how something in our life was resolved, we are able to see how God’s hand orchestrated all the events to bring about the final outcome.

As a very young child, Bart became involved in the local church and with people who shared God’s word and the love of God with him. His love for God and his commitment to serve him continued to grow as he reached adulthood. Even though he followed God’s word, his homelife didn’t change and, in fact, it even grew worse. Bart’s hatred for his father increased. Eventually, as many of us do when we can’t fix a problem, we give up, walk away, and leave. Bart did just that, he left his life with his father behind, but he still carried the feelings of anger, resentment, and hatred with him. He struggled in his personal and professional life and finally reached the point where he had to release these feelings to God.

When Bart returns home, he finds that his father has changed and has become a new person in Christ. Even then, Bart struggles with forgiveness and only with God’s help is he able to forgive his father. God not only was working in Bart’s life, he was working in his father’s life, and working to make what was once broken, whole again. From these experiences, God gave Bart Millard the song, “I Can Only Imagine” which has blessed the lives of so many people. What a wonderful God.

When our circumstances are difficult and getting worse, God is still at work. When relationships are broken, and reconciliation seems hopeless, God is still at work. Be patient and allow God to work.