Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a true story of incredible forgiveness and the transformation change that happened because of it. In 2015, Mark Joseph Peredo was working hard to build his own business, but his dreams of business success were dashed when a car traveling on the opposite side of the highway crossed the median and struck Mark’s car. Mark suffered a shattered foot and several broken facial bones – forever changing Mark’s appearance and rendering him unable to walk for a year. Mark’s dreams of business success would have to wait. Mark was understandably angry at the other driver, whom he knew nothing about, for what he perceived to be such a careless and destructive action. After his foot had healed, Mark decided to walk the famed 500-mile Camino de Santiago trail through the Pyranees Mountains in France as a way to heal his soul. Mark was able to complete the arduous trek, but at the end, realized that his soul was still in need of healing that only one thing could provide: meeting the other driver.
The other driver’s name is Luke Hutchins and the reason he swerved across traffic and hit Mark that night was not because of carelessness. Luke had suffered a seizure – his first, but not his last. After the accident, doctors would tell Luke that he had chronic epilepsy that could kill him. The news meant that Luke could no longer drive, work, or even take care of his daughters by himself. While Mark struggled to heal his broken bones, Luke struggled to come to terms with what his new life would be – both unbeknownst to each other. When Mark met Luke and discovered all Luke had been dealing with, they decided to walk the Camino de Santiago together. Over the course of their 40-day trek, the two men forged a bond through forgiveness that healed the souls of both men. Mark said of the entire experience, “For me, going through this process of healing and letting go and not hating is something I needed to do – to prove to myself, to prove to my children that you have to stay the course, and that something good will come from it. I wanted to go back because I was broken. Luke wanted to do it because he was broken. We helped each other.” Mark and Luke’s bond truly shows that forgiveness is the key to healing the soul.
We all face times when we feel our soul dragged down by stress, anger, hatred, sadness or other exhaustive feelings. Many of us try to heal our souls through exercise or body transformation, pouring ourselves into work, or drinking or other destructive behaviors. Some of us even turn to prayer as a means to heal the soul. While prayer and faith can certainly put us on the path to healing, there really is only one thing that will truly heal our souls – forgiveness. Christ did not die on the cross so that we would have faith in him or that we would pray to him. He died so that we may be forgiven – the most precious and valuable thing in the world. That is why Paul wrote that we are new creations after finding forgiveness in Christ, saying, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Of all the things we perceive as good for the soul, one is by far the best: forgiveness. Today, if you are withholding forgiveness from someone – deserving or not – give it freely. If you are in need of forgiveness yourself, seek it from Jesus and you will have it.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV