Forgiven Sermon Illustration

Bernie Siegel tells of Edward, a nurse at a nursing home, who took special care of a woman who hadn’t walked for six years. She often asked him about God and death, and finally one night, she asked if he was certain that God forgives everything. “Yes,” Edward replied. He reminded her that God already knows what we’ve done wrong, every lie we’ve told, and it saddens him. But still, Edward told her, he forgives. Then she sighed and confessed, “When I was a young woman, I stole my parents’ silver and sold it so I would have enough money to get married. I’ve never told anyone and no one ever found out. Will God forgive me?” “Yes,” Edward replied, “God will forgive you.” Siegel says, “When Edward arrived back at work the next morning, he was told to see the administrator, who asked what he had told the woman the night before. “As usual,” Edward explained, “we talked about God and forgiveness. Why?” “At 3:00 A.M. the woman came out of her room and, with no help, walked the entire length of the nursing home, put her Bible and her teeth on the nurse’s desk, and said, ‘I don’t need these anymore.’ Then she turned, walked back to her room, laid down and died” (Bernie Siegel, “Forgiven,” in Jack Canfield et al., Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul: Stories to Celebrate, Honor, and Inspire the Nursing Profession [New York: Backlist, 2012], 205–6).