True story. Hand to God.

An acquaintance was having neighbor trouble. As often happens, things escalated rather quickly. What had begun as an issue where two sides were taking tough stands and no one was willing to budge swiftly careened into a legal battle.

The acquaintance—a woman of great faith who diligently tried to live out her life as a disciple of Christ—was deeply troubled by the chain of events which left her with an impending court date.

In the meantime, her young grandchild was in a school play and the play was scheduled for a date very close to the court date. The play was about different virtues or characteristics that are good to practice and to have: things like perseverance and kindness. The grandchild’s role in the play was to carry a placard for one of these virtues—marching around the stage with others holding similar placards with letters boldly proclaiming this characteristic or that trait.

With the play and court date fast approaching, all the grandmother really had on her mind was the court date and the events leading up to its sad reality. She wrestled with it to such a degree that her mind could absorb nothing else. Mostly she kept asking the Lord for a “sign.” Should she forgive her neighbor or should she carry through with the legal battle? Please Lord, she would beg night and day, give me a sign.

The night of her grandchild’s play arrived. As the acquaintance sat in the audience, enjoying the play was the furthest thing from her mind. She didn’t even notice her grandchild on the stage with the other kids as her mind swirled around beseeching God for a sign.

The play ended and grandmother and grandchild made their way through the parking lot to grandma’s car. The grandchild carried the placard at her side and chatted away with grandma hearing nary a word. The court date was just a couple of days away and the grandmother was still waiting for a sign from God.

As each got into the front seat of the car, the grandchild put the placard on the dashboard with the letters facing up. Grandma started the car and looking out the front window saw the reflection of the word on the placard. Sadly, in her state of mind, she hadn’t noticed it all night. Now seeing it for the first time, she seemed unable to move. The grandmother could barely believe her eyes.

There it was – the placard with which her grandchild had been strutting around the stage all evening; the placard that grandma had been too preoccupied to notice.

On the “sign” that the grandchild had placed on the front dashboard, decorated and glittering for all the audience to see—but mostly for grandma to see—was one single word: Forgiveness.


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