The Power of Forgiveness

Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.

The first job I ever had was an absolute disaster….I mean I REALLY SCREWED UP BIG!! I was a 14 year old punk kid who was irresponsible, disrespectful and lazy. I had been hired by my pastor to mow his lawn for him. He had a big yard and a riding lawn mower so I was totally open to sitting on his John Deere and making a few bucks doing his labor.

Now here is an important detail- my pastor was a big, strong, intimidating dude. Stu Weber was/is a “man’s man”; hunter, fisher, soldier and his presence alone made most people tremble. So even though I was a punk kid I totally wanted to serve this guy well. If nothing else even just out of fear!

The Fear-Induced Coma

The details of what happened that fateful May Saturday in 1996 are still blurry but the consequences are still very real and felt, even today (20 years later). I wasn’t paying attention around a turn and I ran his beautiful, green John Deere mower into his beautiful, blue Ford truck.

As I turned around it was too late, there was a 2 foot scrape on his nice Ford truck and his formerly green tractor looked like it had hit a smurf. Walking to Pastor Stu’s front door after that debacle was probably the scariest 20 steps I ever took in my life. I literally thought I might just collapse into a “fear-induced coma”. I swallowed hard then knocked on the door;

Me: (Silently praying Psalm 23) – “Um….Stu” (insert serious shaking and tremors in voice)

Stu: “Hey Ryan, you get that done”

Me: “Well, not exactly” (first tear explodes onto my “tough guy” cheeks)

Stu: “Oh yeah, is there a problem?”

Me: “Well, you could say that….Stu, I ruined EVERYTHING!!” (At this point I emotionally collapse and fumble through everything that happened.)

Now what happened next is the first moment in my life I remember definitively and POWERFULLY marking me…


couple-692708_640Stu looked at me in the eyes and said, “Ryan, it is okay. I forgive you! It’s just a truck and mower. We can easily get those fixed.” I was in shock, and couldn’t believe what was happening. And then to clinch the moment he pulls out his wallet and hands me $30 and says, “Thanks for mowing the rest of the lawn…it looks great!”
What? Huh?? What just happened??

That’s the first moment I remember tasting, knowing, feeling and DEEPLY experiencing grace; I deserved a $4000 bill, instead I got $30. I deserved to be fired; instead I got praised (“the yard looks great”). I deserved wrath instead I got praise and love. This is what grace is…not getting what I do deserve (wrath) and getting what I didn’t deserve (money, praise and “atta boys”).

What Our Addictions Whisper

The problem with our addictions is that they whisper (and at times SCREAM) into our ears as “anti-grace” story. “You’re not worthy of forgiveness” becomes the anthem and hymn of our lives. Addictions and self-exaltation shrink our hearts from the power of grace. What’s devastating for those in addiction is that the antidote is so close but left alone, in their own personal prison, any outside help feels too good to be true so they stop believing that there can be another way out.

Here is the good news; if you’ve never known the power of three little words maybe you should think deeply about saying them (to those you who’ve wronged you) or maybe you should let the living God (who you have deeply wronged) speak these three little words over you:

“I forgive you”

Stu Weber said them to me 20 years ago and my life has never been the same.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Have you had someone in your life that extended incredible forgiveness to you? How has that impacted your understanding of forgiveness and your recovery?

About the Author:

Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together.

Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR

Addiction Hope is proud to announce the initiation of a special Christian Track of blogs and articles to commemorate the blessing of our sister site, Eating Disorder Hope’s 10th year anniversary. Watch for further content noted as “Christian Track”.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 22nd, 2015
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