Forgiveness

Dr. Sandra Parawira-Chaza shines a light on this often difficult principle through the story of a lonely woman facing deathrow.

Sometimes the enormity of one’s sins and failures are so overwhelming that it seems humanly impossible to overcome. The enemy specializes in trying to make you believe that you are beyond redemption. It is in believing this lie from the pits of hell that we indeed become lost. We are right to feel that these things are beyond human possibility, because it is only when we are able to look beyond our humanity and reach for what is divine, can we then understand that redemption has nothing to do with what we have done or what we have not done, but that it has everything to do with what Jesus Christ did on that day on the Cross at Calvary. The Word of God tells us For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 He predestined us for adoption to son-ship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will Ephesians 1: 4-5

A woman reborn…

Nila was a woman whose reputation preceded her. The mention of her name would never fail to raise eyebrows and evoke whispered comments. Unfortunately, she was not known for the good she had done nor the things she had accomplished. She was the most notorious woman in the state prison where she was known for being the only female on death-row. She was a woman whose notoriety stemmed from having committed such heinous crimes that whatever good that she may have done at some point in her life was completely erased by the enormity of the evil she was now known for.

Sentenced to death

She had been sentenced to death for her crimes and spent many years on death row going through various levels of appeal. Over the years, she appealed the sentence multiple times but all her appeals were rejected. After receiving news that her last plea for clemency had been denied, and that she was scheduled to be executed at dawn, she spent her last night crying hopelessly, desperately searching for peace within her troubled soul. While crying on her knees, she heard the door to her cell opening and she knew that her time was up. When she looked up, she was surprised to find, not the jail guards as she expected, but an unfamiliar older man dressed in street clothes, with a kind smile breaking through his weathered face. Altogether unexpected for a woman who had known no kindness in her life and certainly had not earned it in the way she had lived.

I am not here to judge you

She asked “Who are you? The chaplain? The man answered and said “No I am just a regular guy representing your interests”, much to the woman’s surprise. She then asked “How did they let you get in here, aren’t you afraid to be in the cell with me after everything I’ve done?”. The man proceeded to speak to her and kindly said to her “My daughter…” those two words caught her attention, while throwing her completely off guard as she had never known a father in her life or had ever been addressed with such endearment. The older man continued “I am not here to judge you, my child. I came to let you know, that the board of advisors have rejected your pleas for mercy. They do not believe that you can be rehabilitated or that you are worthy of forgiveness for all the things you have done, all the lives you have destroyed, and all the people you have hurt. They will not grant you clemency; they want to see you die”

He continued, “I have watched you from a distance and followed your story closely for a long time and realize that, you too are a victim of your past and a prisoner of your crimes, and not only in the physical sense. The things I will tell you today, nobody else ever will.

My daughter, I believe you’re worthy, you are worthy of forgiveness, you are worthy of mercy, you are worthy of grace, and you are worthy of redemption”.

At this proclamation the woman fell to her knees and cried, “but I have murdered, I have stolen, I have been a drug addict, a liar, a cheater, you name it, I have done it. I have failed in every thing I have done, and fallen short in every area of my life. I have hurt so many people, disappointed every person who has ever believed in me, I have done unimaginable things, my spirit is sunken in the depths of despair and my body is weak from disease. I am dying, even without the sentence! How can you think that I have any worth, how dare you speak to me about worth, I have no value at all, I am nothing, and I have no one, for all have forsaken me and separated themselves from me because of my crimes, I have nothing to live for.” With tears streaming down her face and her voice breaking from the pain and the tangible regret from deep inside her, she continued “ I want so much to leave my horrible past behind me, I want to start afresh, but there is no way I can undo my past, if only it were possible, I would ask for forgiveness and never return to my old ways, if only I knew where to turn.”

Grace

The old man knelt beside her and held her hand and remained silent for a moment while she cried.  Then he gently spoke up and said to her “My daughter, your past failures or present circumstances should never define your worth.   Not only do I believe in your potential for rehabilitation, I believe you’re worthy to be redeemed  but since everybody has decided that you should die for these crimes, I want you to know that I believe in you and your potential to overcome all these things, …so much so, that this very day I will die in your place, because I believe that, as long as you have breath in your body, you are worth saving, and you have the potential to repent of your crimes, to turn your life around, start afresh, and to make amends.

I release you from the shame of your past

At these words the woman crumbled, fell on her face, and wept.  He said in the gentlest of voices.  “Rise my child, here are the keys to your cell and to your salvation.  I release you from everything you have carried, from the pain you have caused others, from the hurt you have suffered from others, the guilt that has weighed you down, the rejection you have endured, and the failures you have experienced over the years. I release you from the drug addictions, the prostitution, and the sexual perversions. I release you from your hatred of yourself and of others, I release you from your anger, unforgiveness, and despair.  I release you from the shame of your past, your self doubt, and your insecurities.  I completely and utterly release you from yourself, so you can be reborn and start anew as you have so desired .  Go in peace for I have set you free. From this day forth you shall be known as Grace the Redeemed and you will know true liberty for “whom the Son sets free is free indeed” (John 8:36).

Ephesians 1:7,  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

About the Author:

Dr. Sandra Parawira-Chaza, DNP, AGACNP-BC.

I am a product of my wonderful parents and my band of siblings that I had the unmatched privilege of sharing my childhood with. Growing up, a lot of sacrifices were made by our parents on behalf of my four siblings and I, so that we could have the best of which was in their abilities to provide. In that humble home, I was taught to relentlessly pursue excellence in all my endeavors, including in my love and service for Christ. Now, I am a wife, mom of two young daughters, and most importantly, a Daughter of the Most High God, which is my highest and greatest calling.

Preserving Kingdom DNA

Understanding that the enemy has a chief agenda of destroying our young people, my passion is capturing the hearts of young people for Christ for eternity, and my motto is “preserving Kingdom DNA”. My goal is to mentor young people in realizing their worth and their Kingdom potential, so they can really grasp the calling upon their lives as they learn to see themselves as a generation that is set apart. Our family attends Solid Rock Church in Monroe Ohio, which has been pivotal in positioning my husband Allen and I in growing our faith and challenging us in the pursuit of our divine appointments as we raise our children in like mindedness. I am so thankful for being a part of a church family that does not comprise on the Word of God!

I currently live in Cincinnati, Ohio. Professionally, I work as a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Advanced Practice Provider in Neurology/Neuroimmunology at the University of Cincinnati. I also work part-time in an Adjunct Professor Role and serve on professional medical advisory boards in a consulting role.

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