Number 491: The Extraordinary Tale of Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a way of releasing ourselves from the chains of hatred that binds us. It is a fragrance made by a tiny flower that was blown by the wind. If God can forgive, why can't we.
Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)
Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
This is about an extraordinary tale of forgiveness of a younger boy to her sister that I would like to share to the world. I remember reading this a long time ago and every time I finished reading the last sentence, tears would fall down from my eyes.
The story unfolds one early Sunday morning when the Sabbath school teacher reads the story of Peter and Jesus about forgiveness. Then came one innocent question of a little girl to her younger brother, “how many times is that, the seventy times seven?”
He whispered, “Four hundred and ninety.”
It was a very innocent answer but that’s where the story of counting began.
That evening, the girl made a chart with 490 boxes on it. She showed it to her younger brother and said it’s for tracking every time she did wrong to him.
She will check each box every time she messed up and he forgave her.
“You don’t need to keep –,” said her brother. But she cut his words telling him that she wants to. They all knew that she passed 490 a long time ago.
There were many opportunities for her to fill the boxes on the years that followed. And when she check Number 490, she used a gold pen and have her brother signed it.
Then the chart was placed into her memory box.
"No more screw ups for me!" she said.
Number 491 was just another careless mistake but its hurts lasted a lifetime.
Her brother grew up to be the most talented musician and on his fourth year, he received a once in a lifetime chance to audition to New York’s great orchestra. It was the fulfilment of his young dreams.
But it never came; the young music genius missed the try-out because of her. She was the one who received the call for his brother’s schedule but she forgot.
It was a week later when she remembered about the call and it was already too late.
She was heartbroken for destroying her brother’s dream so she ran out from their home and promising never to come back. Her family tried so many times to reach but she never answered their call.
“I ruined my brother’s life and I’m not coming back,” she said.
Well, she did come back but to add salt to her wound, it was her brother’s funeral. Now, she found herself again in her room, staring at the memory box in front of her. It was as she remembered except for her brother’s chart – it was not there. In its place was an envelope.
She tore it open and the first page reads:
Dear Sis, It was you who kept count, not me. But if you’re stubborn enough to keep count, use the new chart I’ve made for you. Love, Brent.”
She turned to the second page and found the chart just like the one she made as a child - but on this one, the lines were drawn in a perfect precision. She noticed that there was one check mark in the upper left hand corner of the chart.
Written over the entire page were the words:
“Number 491. Forgiven, forever.”
© 2012 Mycee. All Rights Reserved.