Below, Elizabeth shares a powerful personal experience that helped her to better understand what Jesus Christ has done for her and each of us.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a good deed, or an act of kindness that touched your heart?
Nearly two and a half years ago, I chose to leave my marriage. Our marriage had been deteriorating for some time, and my spouse had been abusive in many ways. We were expecting our first child, and as I prayed and waited on God for an answer to my prayers, He helped me to recognize that it was time to leave. He gave me strength far beyond my own not only to leave, but then to give birth to my son a week and a half later.
The ensuing divorce process after my son was born was not easy. It was fraught with heavy feelings of grief, trauma, and pain. However, I was blessed with an amazing lawyer who helped me throughout the next year of court and legal battles. In the end, I was granted full custody and my husband relinquished his rights to our son, a blessing I had been praying would be granted to us. This was a miracle for me. After it was over, financially I struggled under the burden of the legal fees that had accrued over that year as I continued to pursue my education and work to provide for my son.
It was only a month ago that I received something that shocked me. I checked my mailbox, and found a piece of mail from my lawyer. I assumed at first that it was just another bill. At first, I got distracted with other things and didn’t open it. But after a while, it kept coming to my mind, so I finally decided to check and see what it was. As I picked it up, I could feel that this was thicker than a normal piece of mail I would receive from their office.
Intrigued, I opened it to find a beautiful letter. In the letter, my lawyer told me that while working together, she had felt inspired by me and my goals and all that I was pursuing. She admitted that she had continued to think about me and my son long after we had finished the divorce and had wanted to do something to help us. I felt tears burn my eyes as I read that she had felt prompted to forgive the remaining balance that I owed to her for her legal services as a gift to us – an outstanding amount that was several thousands of dollars.
With shaky hands, I pressed the letter to my heart and sobbed. Her unexpected generosity stunned me. I did not know what to say. How do you thank someone for something like this? I could not even begin to express the gratitude I felt in having this enormous burden removed from my shoulders. All that I felt was light, peace, and reassurance as I recognized God’s hand in my life and the goodness and kindness of my lawyer in performing this miraculous good deed on my behalf.
As I pondered this loving gesture and what it means to me, I started to think about my Savior, Jesus Christ. When I think about my lawyer and what she did, I am reminded so clearly of Him and His love for me. I imagine a huge bill, a debt or balance listing all of the things I’ve done wrong. I imagine Jesus and His suffering to accomplish the Atonement – and I imagine that list being wiped clean, just as my legal balance was.
Jesus paid a debt that none of us will ever be able to understand – He gave His life for our sins, faults, wrongdoings, shortcomings, and mistakes. Jesus paid that price for every person that has ever or will ever live. While He did it for all of mankind, He also did it for each of us individually, becoming aware of us and our personal “balance” that was owed.
Our sins and mistakes and many of the burdens we carry are just like the financial burden I was shouldering legally, though that was on a much smaller scale.When I think about the magnitude of the relief I felt when that was burden removed from me in a great and unexpected act of kindness, I am left in awe of the goodness of others. But even more that that, I am left in awe of the exquisite mercy and incomprehensible compassion of Jesus and the price He paid for me to wipe my balance clean.
His sacrifice costs more than any amount of money I can imagine. It is priceless. Jesus loves each of us so deeply that He paid the price that none of us could ever pay. Through the shedding of His innocent blood and through bringing to pass the Atonement, He has freed us from our burdens of sin and has offered us the freedom to start again, to repent, and to become like Him. This experience has helped me to feel closer to Him, and to understand a tiny fraction of what He has done for me a little better. The peace and gratitude that I feel for Jesus is a gift and a blessing that I can never repay.