This is the final part of my short story Never An Absolution! Thank you all who have read this whole little thing, and I hope you enjoy this last part! Previously, John Hudson met three people, two of whom represented holding bitterness, and one of who forgave those who had wronged him. Now John must make a decision- will he surrender to Christ and forgive, or continue holding his grudges and end his life?
A little while later, Duncan went to find John. He found him sitting on the mossy bank of a river, tossing rocks.
“You’re saying that I’m stupid and ridiculous just because I don’t forgive?” John interrupted sourly.
“I never said that.” Duncan said softly.
“I can’t see how I could be those though.” John answered, almost as if talking to himself. “I have every right in the world to be angry and bitter! Those men—those people who hurt me — they killed my brother and might as well have killed my father — and they made me lose everything!”
“John, don’t you see? You’re carrying those offenses around on you like a bag of rocks! You’ll never be happy unless you forgive and set yourself free!” Duncan exclaimed. “Like Mr. Hargrove, remember? Don’t you think he’d be glad to drop those rocks?”
“But I did nothing wrong! I never hurt those people!” John retorted back, standing up and putting his hands on his hips.
“Just like Miss Spencer did nothing wrong when those men offended her.”
“But that was different! They didn’t mean for that to happen!”
“I’m certain Mr. Standish did not mean to hit your little brother either, John. And Mr. Humphreys and Mr. Solomon can’t help that they had to take the farm from you. They have families to feed as well.”
John dropped his arms and looked down. “It’s not fair! In every exit I try to make for, you block me!” He sighed deeply. “I’m such a miserable fool.” He dropped to the ground again and tossed another rock across the water.
“You don’t have to remain a miserable fool. There is One who takes away the sins of the world, if we will let Him. He will forgive us, and He will help us to forgive others. But we must forgive others, or we cannot expect Him to forgive us. Matthew 6:12 says, ‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’ In other words, John, that means that since the Lord forgives us, He expects us to forgive as well.”
“But even if I wanted to, I couldn’t!” John finally exclaimed. “I swore to Father on his death bed I’d never forgive and never forget! I can’t break my promise to him!”
Duncan thought for a moment, praying for the right words. They finally came to him. “John, there’s another verse. It says that when you accept Christ, you become a new creature. Thus, you won’t break your promise! The old John—the one who swore — will not have forgiven the men. The new John will! That is… if you choose to accept Christ.”
John seemed to struggle. “I—I just—don’t want to let them off the hook!” He grumbled. “I want to make sure they suffer somewhat at least!”
“Vengeance is the Lord’s, and He will repay. That’s a promise in His Word. He won’t let anyone get away with anything, even if it seems like they are! Trust in the Lord, John. He’ll be able to revenge them much better than you’d ever be able to. And are you happy for not forgiving them? Does it make you feel better?”
John slowly shook his head. “No…” He stared at the ground. For a moment he was silent again, then he looked up. “You figure I’ll be as happy as Charlie Milker if I forgive and give my life to Christ?”
“I figure you’ll feel much freer than you have in a very, very long time.” Duncan said with a smile.
John nodded slowly. “I’ll—I’ll do it.”
And it was there, amidst the cool autumn air that crisp evening, that George John Hudson Jr. gave his life to Christ.
When he finished the prayer, he smiled gently. “Well — that’s weird… I feel lighter for some reason…” He looked around and actually grinned. “Reckon it’d be better if I made my… absolutions right now?”
“It’s always better to forgive as quickly as possible,” Duncan grinned as well, an inexpressible joy in his heart.
John gave another smile. “Well then, tell your family I won’t be home for supper tonight. I have a few ‘absolutions’ to make!”
Duncan grinned bigger. “Shore thing, John!” He dashed off, inwardly dancing for joy.
John Hudson made up with all three of the people he had never forgiven, and his father’s debtor, Mr. Solomon, so moved by John’s confession, confessed his own dishonesty of overcharging the Hudsons, and generously gave John back his farm, debt free. He also paid him seven times the amount he’d stolen, making John’s money come close to three thousand dollars.
Mr. Humphreys was so touched also by it that he gave John help and advice until the boy could get back on his own two feet. He and his sons also fixed up the old run-down shack for him to live in.
Mr. Standish was the one that John had the hardest time forgiving, having held an offense against him for so long. But with Christ’s help, he forgave him, and overtime the two became very close. Sarah Standish also became very good friends with him, and a few years later there was a wedding at the flourishing and prosperous Hudson farm, where Miss Sarah Standish became Mrs. John Hudson.