What if the Unforgivable Happened to You?
If a crooked cop — who falsely arrested you and landed you in prison for four years — got hired to work side-by-side with you, what would you do?
If you’re Jameel McGee, you’d hang out with him and be his friend even though you lost everything when he sent you to prison.
The Story of Ridiculous Forgiveness
One morning in 2005, Police Officer Andrew Collins set a goal for himself. By the end of the day, he’d get another drug arrest no matter what it took. Even if he had to destroy a life to do it. And he did.
Collins arrested Jameel McGee on false charges of drug dealing, sending McGee to prison.
McGee lost everything. He almost lost his life as he considered suicide. He determined to find Collins and take his revenge when he got out. But before he could, the truth caught up to Collins.
The courts sent the crooked cop to prison and exonerated and released McGee.
Collins served 18 months for his crimes. McGee served four years.
Back in Benton Harbor, Michigan, McGee and Collins faced each other for the first time in many painful years.
McGee’s Moment Finally Came
McGee could finally exact his revenge on the crooked cop who stole four years of his life. He took full advantage of that moment and shocked the world.
He forgave Andrew Collins. He forgave the unforgivable.
What Collins did for evil, God used for good. It was while they were in prison that they both found faith in Christ, and McGee found the power to forgive.
Hear the story in their own words and then find out what kind of response they’ve received:
They Don’t Get It
I was overwhelmed by their story.
Others were outraged, which I discovered after reading the comments on the youtube video.
Some praised both men. Collins, for confessing and repenting. Andrew, for taking the hardest step — forgiving him.
Others commenters felt nothing but hate and anger — violent anger.
Here’s a more G-rated comment:
You can’t put someone in prison and EVER be free of what you did to them. I don’t care if today he says “I’m sorry”. Tough.
Most comments were so toxic, I can’t print them.
My heart breaks for these people even more than for McGee, because McGee gets it, but they don’t.
Forgiveness frees the one who forgives even more than the one being forgiven.
McGee hadn’t forgotten he spent four years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s simply chosen complete freedom.
I said “simply” not “simple.” Forgiveness can be extremely hard, but not impossible. With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26.
It wasn’t enough for McGee to be free of the jail cell. He chose to free his heart of the destructive forces of unforgiveness and hate as well.
He set his heart free to embrace life and experience overwhelming peace every day.
Unforgiveness and hate rot the heart to the bone.
Collins stole four years of McGee’s life. Hate would steal more. It would steal his whole life, infect every relationship he had, and rob him of a life of joy and peace.
Hate and revenge don’t bring happiness or contentment. They rot the heart to the bone leaving a shell of discontentment and loneliness.
McGee isn’t just content. He’s happy.
If he’d followed the advice of those who want Collins destroyed, McGee would be filled with anger and rage. When has that ever made anyone happy?
Hate and the Incredible Hulk
When rage overtakes mild-mannered Dr. Bruce Banner, he morphs into the Incredible Hulk — a Marvel comics character who personifies human rage and anger.
The Hulk doesn’t hug puppies or help little old ladies cross a street. He knocks them into the building across the street with the puppy.
If more people believed like Jameel McGee, our country would be known for its love and unity, not its divisiveness and hate.
“A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Unforgivable and Yet Forgiven
What Collins did is unforgivable, and yet, because of Christ, he’s forgiven.
And because of Christ, McGee can forgive.
He now lives a full, happy life and enjoys a life-changing friendship that’s the world would do well to emulate, not hate.
Are we holding onto anger or unforgiveness?
Does the mere mention of a particular name bring up feelings of bitterness?
No matter what they’ve done, heinous as it may be, the worst tragedy is letting unforgiveness steal your chance to live free of hate.
Nothing is worth harboring anger. Let it go. Christ paid for it on the cross. He paid for their sins and yours.
We’ll all answer to God one day for the things we’ve done. They’ll answer for their crime against us, and we’ll answer for our crime against God of refusing to forgive as He’s commanded. (Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:14, Matthew 18:33)
Embrace the joy, peace, contentment and freedom that forgiveness brings.
As Steve Hartman said, “If these two guys can set aside their bitter grounds, what’s our excuse?
I want to end this post with a song that exudes the freedom Jameel and Andrew enjoy: Testify by NeedtoBreathe.
Jameel’s and Andrew’s lives testify to the power of Christ to wash away anger, despair, and guilt.
They came to the fountain of Christ and are satisfied.
Let’s get lost inside the fountain of Living Water.
Go ahead, sing with all your might. I am.
Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.
Forgive as Christ forgave you.
(February 6, 2017 — I updated my website today and surprise, surprise, some of my design and colors changed. Ugh! I have no idea how to change them back. Bear with me. I’m planning a full redesign of my site in the near future. Thanks!)