Forgiveness Has No Statute of Limitations (Sermon Illustration)

sermon illustration on forgiveness

On Friday, December 20, 1974, Chris Carrier was a 10-year-old boy living in Coral Gables, Florida. He was on his way home for school when his life traumatically changed forever.

A man abducted Chris, stabbed him several times with an ice pick, burned him with cigarettes, shot him in the head, and left him to die in the Everglades.

Miraculously, six days later, Chris woke up on the day after Christmas. He was found sitting on a rock, dazed and confused. The bullet had passed behind his eyes and out his right temple. Chris was blinded in his left eye but had no brain damage.

Chris said, “For the next three years I lived with tremendous anxiety. Most nights I would wake up frightened, imagining I heard someone coming in the back door. I’d find refuge in my parents’ room, curling up on the floor at the foot of their bed.”

But when he was thirteen, he found hope and security in God’s providence during a Bible study with his youth group at Granada Presbyterian Church. Chris went on to graduate from seminary and become a youth pastor at the same church.

But the story didn’t end there.

Twenty-two years after the kidnapping and attempted murder, long after the statute of limitations ran out, 77-year-old David McAllister finally confessed to the crime.

So Chris visited McAllister, finding a the fail, blind, ex-convict living in a North Miami Beach nursing home. McAllister had no family or friends to visit him.

McAllister confessed to the crime, and shockingly, Chris offered his forgiveness. Chris began to visit McAllister regularly. The two prayed, read the Bible, and prayed together. McAllister came to faith in Jesus and even told CNN reporters that Chris was the best friend he ever had.

Chris said, “I know the world might view me as the victim of a horrible tragedy, but I consider myself the ‘victim’ of many miracles…. And while many people can’t understand how I could forgive David McAllister, from my point of view I couldn’t not forgive him. If I’d chosen to hate him all these years, or spent my life looking for revenge, then I wouldn’t be the man I am today, the man my wife and children love, the man God has helped me to be.”

When McAllister died about a month later, no friends or family claimed his remains. Chris made funeral arrangements and was the only person who wanted to pay his respect.

“I’m glad he was able to put the past behind him,” Chris told a New York Times reporter, “I tried to let him know he had a friend.”

Chris Carrier proved that while there may be a statute of limitations on crimes committed, there is no statute of limitations on the love and forgiveness of Jesus.

So what’s your excuse for not forgiving someone?

Sources: and


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By | 2017-09-26T12:06:55+00:00 September 26th, 2017|