Ridiculous Forgiveness — A Story You Won’t Believe (And a Song to Testify)

Ridiculous Forgiveness -- Watch a Story You Won't Believe & listen to "Testify" by Needtobreathe (via www.JeanWilund.com

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.

Ridiculous Forgiveness -- Watch a Story You Won't Believe & listen to "Testify" by Needtobreathe (via www.JeanWilund.comAnother person wrote, “They would of been doing a interview from death row because I would of killed his [bleep].”

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 didn’t forget he spent four years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He simply chose 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 live every day filled with anger and rage. When has that ever made anyone happy?

If more people believed like Jameel McGee, our country would be known for its love and unity, not for 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 the world would do well to emulate, not hate.

Are Anger and Unforgiveness Holding Onto You?

Does the mere mention of a particular name bring up feelings of bitterness?

Do anger and unforgiveness have a hold on you?

No matter what anyone has done to you, heinous as it may be, the worst tragedy is letting unforgiveness steal your chance to live free of bitter hatred.

Nothing is worth harboring bitterness and anger. Let them go. Christ paid for it all on the cross. He paid for your offender’s sins and yours.

Each of us will answer to God one day for the things we’ve done.

Those who hurt us will answer for their crimes. And we will answer for our crimes — including the 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 in the video, “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.

Ridiculous Forgiveness - A Story You Won't Believe #Testify #MondayMusic #Christ Click To Tweet

When Pain Is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom

When Pain is Like a Flower, Truth Makes Hope Bloom by Mekeishakay via www.JeanWilund.comEver met someone you’d like to have follow you around and talk for you?

All you’d have to say was, “Yeah. What she said!”

Blogger–and my new friend–Mekeisha has a way of explaining truth that leaves me staring at her dumbly.

When people stare at me like that, they’re trying to figure out what I’m babbling about.

People stare at Mekeisha because they’re mesmerized.

I want to grow up to be just like her.

I asked Mekeisha if I could rip a post off her blog and share it with you. She said, Sure – go for it!

I chose When Pain is Like a Flower because when she read it to my roommate Bethany and I at a recent speakers conference (Christian Communicators Conference–shameless plug), Bethany and I just stared, stunned.

I wish you could’ve been there. It would’ve been crowded in our hotel room, but you would’ve loved listening to her.

After you read Mekeisha’s post, go onto her blog (the link is at the bottom of this post) and leave her a comment, requesting she start streaming live readings.

Thanks! and Enjoy . . . 

When pain is like a flower

(by Mekeisha as appeared on her blog, Mekeishakay)

This afternoon, J (my 8 yo) slipped into my room for a visit. I was settled on my bed checking e-mails and reading articles, when she began twisting wool into a ring, and the words began to flow. I knew it was going to be more than a casual conversation when she opened with

Mom, do you know what really makes me sad? 

As she began to share, I was surprised to realize that my fun loving, rambunctious little girl had such deep thoughts brewing below the surface.

I’m happy on the outside, but I’m not happy on the inside. I feel mean on the inside. And angry. And hurt a lot… as she braided and re-braided the string in her hands, she looked away with the saddest face and said It can never change…

Oh, Babe, that makes my heart sad. God doesn’t want you to feel that way!

As I sat across from her, an illustration began to form in my mind:

Imagine your baby sister with a backpack full of rocks, so full she couldn’t even walk- she could only crawl, because it was too heavy to walk with. Then someone added even more rocks until she finally rolled over from the weight. She would be lying on a lumpy backpack full of heavy rocks!! Now wouldn’t that be terrible!? What would you do?

With tears in her eyes, she ardently proclaimed, I would walk over, scoop her up in my arms, kiss her and tell her that she was going to be okay, and then I would put her rocks in MY backpack, and I would walk over to the person who did it, and I would tell them

You may not touch her any more. You can only Touch Me.

I started crying as I put my arms on her shoulders and asked, “Now J, if you would do that for your sister, don’t you think God would do that for you? That’s exactly what Jesus did when He went to the cross! He saw how heavy our backpacks were, and He took our rocks of sin, shame, and pain and He told the Devil: You can only touch me.”

You can only touch me – so they beat Him with a whip.

You can only touch me –  and they spit in His face.

You can only touch me – and they placed a crown of thorns on His head.

You can only touch me – and they plucked his beard from his face.

You can only touch me and He was nailed to a cross.

You can only touch me and He went to Hell for us.

“Do you believe Jesus did that for you?”

She looked away and whispered… No.

How will I get through to her?

“Now… remember when you said that you could never change the way you feel inside? I have a question: What if R, your sister (who is only four) had a backpack full of rocks and you walked over to help her and she said ‘NO! I like my rocks! I want to keep my rocks! You can’t have my rocks!’

“What if she couldn’t even walk because the rocks were so heavy? What would you do then?”

She thought a moment, smiled wide and replied, “I would tell her, I know something that you like better than rocks, and I would take her rocks and give her a humongous Lollipop!”

“J, God wants to trade with you too! God wants you to give him the heavy stuff in your backpack so He can fill it up with something better… like love, joy, peace, patience- all these things are fruit of His Spirit working in you!

“Well, don’t you want to get rid of those rocks in your backpack?”

Mom, do you know how many rocks are in my backpack?

No, how many?

One. Just one big, really heavy rock.

What makes it so heavy?

Meanness, grumpiness, anger … the opposite of gentleness, hurt, and… tons of pain.

Why so much pain?

Because sometimes I feel lonely, or sad, and then I feel pain. My pain is like a flower that grows up from the rocks, and it doesn’t die even when it gets too much water, or too much sun… 

Do you think God can take your pain, that He can make it go away?

Yes, but sometimes it’s like someone sneaks in and plants another one.

Well, if that happens, we know what it looks like, right? It’s like a weed growing in your garden, and we know how to get rid of it! God can take care of that one too!

Let’s imagine there’s a table in front of us and you are unloading your backpack onto the table. You know, whenever we see something in our heart that shouldn’t be there, and we say it out loud, that’s called confessing, or admitting something is wrong. When we do that, God loves to forgive us! And it’s okay if you feel angry sometimes… I do too. The Bible says Be Angry–and sin not. It’s what we do with our big feelings that can get us into trouble!

It’s also okay to ask for help, because sometimes we can’t make ourselves do what we should. That’s why God gave us His Spirit. He said He would send us His Spirit so that we would have the power to do what is right. You’re not supposed to try harder to stop doing bad things, we’re supposed to ask God and let Him help more.

As she began to name the things that were in her heart–the anger, the hurt, the mean feelings towards others–her countenance completely shifted from being sad and heavy to being joyful and light.

When we finally emerged from the bedroom to share a snack with the rest of the family, she smiled and proclaimed, “I emptied my backpack!”

You know, I think explaining what we believe in simple words – for little ears – helps us to understand things better. I love the way she grappled with words to share what was on her heart.

I think I understand, though. Sometimes pain does seem to thrive, even when I try to kill it with forgiveness, or when I hope it will scorch under the heat of neglect, pretending I’m fine when I’m really Not… but I think God wants us to be honest enough to admit I hurt… and I need to be healed.

I forgave… but I still feel raw.

I want to do what is right, but I’m sad at the times I’ve failed…

Maybe confession is like opening a door to God. If so, we swung it wide open today.

Meet My Friend Mekeisha

Hailing from the frozen North of Alaska,
I am a wife, mother of four, poet, musician, artist and Grandmother wanna-be.

I read voraciously and love to teach others
about how amazing God is.

He’s a genius, you know.

Love God. Love people.

That’s as simple and complicated as it gets,
my friends.

I write a blog, Mekeishakay, that is my attempt to
share the beauty of our broken places, and the things I am learning in this journey.

Stop by and visit me: Visit Mekeishakay and find beauty, truth, and hope.

When Pain is like a Flower, #Truth makes #Hope Bloom #ChristCarriedYourPain @MekeishaS Click To Tweet



Which to Choose: Football or Bonsai Gardening? – Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Football

Fret over your football team so much you'd consider giving it up for bonsai gardening? You don't have to! Be conformed to Christ through football instead. via www.JeanWilund.comThis may be the year.

College Football has officially kicked off, and this may be the year that

. . . I rejoice whether my team wins or loses,

. . . I can watch an entire game without fretting,

. . . and I jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

Yes, I know. The last one is more likely to happen than the first two.

And the last one ain’t happening.

But it could.

And that’s what matters.

It could happen because God is in the business of transforming lives.

And that’s why I don’t have to give up football and take up bonsai gardening instead.

Last year I declared in my post I Can’t Watch! — Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Football that this fretful football fan would change.

And I did.

Two years ago, I couldn’t watch my Tigers play the big games. I watched movies at the theater instead.

Last year, I watched every game. Not every second of every game, but every game.

Progress. I scored a touchdown.

But I confess, I haven’t won the game. Yet.

I’m still a football-fretter. But the game’s not over.

Crockpot Growth.

Spiritual growth sometimes happens in microwave fast spurts.

But usually it simmers to maturity like a crockpot.

Not being able to handle a football game is a spiritual matter. Read more about it here in that post I told you about before.

Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Football.

I haven’t given up my goal to be transformed into a relaxed football fan, content and peaceful no matter the outcome.

But there will be times this season when that resolve will be tested, and I may consider giving up football to take up bonsai gardening.

What battle are you waging?

Is your battle as silly as mine over fretting about football?

Or is it serious? The kind that should send you down to your knees, like fear over your child’s cancer diagnosis or arrest?

Or do you struggle with issues that send those who live with you down to their knees, like fits of anger or bitterness?

No matter what you’re facing, it’s not too silly or too serious for God.

Never Give Up

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57 ESV).

Whether we’re facing a goal-line on the football field or a drip-line in the ER, we can keep our eyes fixed on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 NASB).

God won’t just give us strength. He is our strength.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 ESV).

Just Imagine

bonsai-316573_640Imagine what our life would be like tomorrow if we woke up, fixated on our all-powerful, loving God instead of our struggles.

We could facing losing a game without losing our joy or having to take up bonsai gardening.

We’d read the sports headlines and front page headlines without being consumed with worry.

We’d carry peace instead of burdens.

God is waiting to do this work in our hearts today. It starts with believing Him and His Word and walking in the truth we know.

This May Be The Year

This may be the year the Clemson Tigers win the National Championship.

Oh so close last year.

But even better, this may be the year we win the battle in our minds.

What victory will you enjoy this year?

Go For It!

And Go Tigers!

Which to Choose: #Football or Bonsai Gardening? Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to #Christ Through Football Click To Tweet

Surrender, Pray, Rest (While My Child is Away – Part 5)

Isaiah 65-24 Surrender, Pray, Rest While My Child is Away via www.JeanWilund.com

Surrender, Pray, Rest

Surrender, Pray, Rest is my motto for life and parenting.

Surrender opens our ears to God.

Prayer opens our communication with God.

Rest opens God’s blessings on us through faith.

When I asked Edie Melson, author of While My Child is Away: My Prayers For When We Are Apart, what she’d put into a Parents’ Survival Kit along with her book, she didn’t even hesitate. She said a journal and a framed copy of Isaiah 65:24.

Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.

– Isaiah 65:24

Isaiah 65:24 encapsulates my motto well.


Isaiah 65:24 speaks of our future when God will create the new heavens and the new earth. At that time, His presence will fill the earth. Sin won’t separate us from Him.

Our relationship with God will be so close, He’ll hear and answer our prayers before we even finish speaking.

Won’t that be amazing?

But what about today?

Christ destroyed sin’s power through His death on the cross.

All who believe that He paid for their sin and have placed their faith in Him for salvation are now free from sin.

Whoo Hoo! and WHEW! That’s no small victory or comfort. 

Sin can no longer separate us from God, butand it’s a big but here it can still mess with us. Hence, our desperate need for surrender. A daily, moment-by-moment choice to surrender.

When we surrender to God, our stubborn, selfish will doesn’t get in the way of our being able to hear Him.

Typically our will acts like a brat towards God, shouting, “Na na na na! I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”

When God wants us to know His will, He can be as loud as He needs to be.

Ask the Israelites who stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai after He brought them out of Egypt. God’s voice thundered such that they begged Moses to ask God to speak only to Moses any more. (Exodus 20:18-19) His voice could’ve drowned out Hurricane Katrina and Mt. Vesuvius at the same time.

God can be loud, but He more often speaks with a still, small voice into a peaceful, quiet heart, surrendered to Him.


Prayer is like the starting gun for God’s will being poured out on His children.

On your mark, get set, GO!

He wants to bless us. He’s just waiting for us to ask according to His good will with faith that He’ll answer.

“Believe Me when I say . . . ” (John 14.11a)

We don’t need fancy words, a special place to pray, or a seminary degree. We only need a surrendered heart that comes to God in faith.


Rest isn’t necessarily something we do. It’s more like something we don’t do.

We don’t worry, beg, or bargain.

We don’t try to earn His favor.

Instead, we rest with a grateful, peaceful heart, knowing it’s all up to Him, and He’s a good, loving God.

Surrender, Pray, Rest

Surrender, pray, rest. Then rinse and repeat.

Edie Melson’s book While My Child is Away is a valuable tool to help parents do just that: surrender, pray and rest.

With 224  pages of prayers, devotions, and parenting thoughts, you can rinse and repeat every day for weeks.

I don’t do math, so you’ll have to figure out how long it will take you to go through the whole book yourself. Sorry.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey into praying for our children while they are away.

It’s one of the most important things we’ll do in our lives. 

Keep surrendering, praying, and resting!

Surrender, Pray, Rest - The best formula for life and parenting #Stop2Pray #Pray4MyChild #Christ @EdieMelson Click To Tweet

God Holds Us Close When We Let Go — JUST BE HELD (by Casting Crowns)

Click to listen to "Just Be Held" by Casting Crowns and read how God holds us when we stop fighting and surrender to Him. (www.JeanWilund.com)Standing at the Atlanta airport security, I wrapped my arms around my daughter Brittany, holding on to her as long as possible.

Letting go meant goodbye.

She’d walk through security and board her plane bound for Hawaii to live 4,677 miles away.

I finally let go and leaned into my husband Larry as she walked away.

I needed to be held.

Years earlier I held on, not to my child, but my rights.

I don’t remember what Larry and I disagreed about. I just remember he was wrong and I was right.

He saw it differently.

I held onto my position, chained to my control.

In my heart, I heard these words: Lay it down and let it go, Jean.

“But he’s wrong.”

Lay it down and let it go.


If You Both Keep Pulling, It’s Going to Break 

It reminds me of when my kids were young and fighting over the same toy.

I’d tell them, “Just let it go. If you both keep pulling, it’s going to break. Let it go, and we’ll talk about it.”

But now I was guilty of the same thing. I was holding on, wrestling for control.

But it wasn’t Larry I was fighting. I was fighting God.

If I didn’t stop fighting and just let go, God might decide to let go instead.

He might let me have my own way.

While that might sound enticing — like I’d won — I’d learned better by then.

I’d held on for too long, too many times before, and gotten my own way. It never worked out well. It always seemed to play out differently than I’d imagined it would in my head.

I’ve finally learned that if God and I are ever on the opposite sides of a situation, I’m the one on the wrong side.

Peace Comes When We Let Go and Just Be Held.

I bowed my knees and my heart to God that day. I laid down my rights, my control.

I expected to feel disgruntled, like someone who’d done the right thing but wasn’t happy about it. So you can imagine my surprise when I felt peace instead.

I felt held. 

I hadn’t realized how hard I’d been holding on and how tiring holding on can be. 

God didn’t change Larry’s mind. He changed my heart.

I can’t remember what I’d been standing so firm against all those years ago, but I still remember the peace that took over when I let go.

It’s the same peace that held me as I stood at both of my parents’ graves.

And the same peace that comforted me as Brittany walked out of sight.

God Holds Us In The Pain.

God’s willing to let us feel debilitating pain, but He holds us through it. I’ve talked about this truth many times — and I’ll keep talking about it.

God knows what He’s doing when He lets us walk down dark, painful paths.

In time we’ll understand. But in the moment we hate it.

We want off the rocky road. We beg Him to place us on a more comfortable path.

When we finally come to the place where we’re ready to stop fighting and lay it all down, we find God there.

We can fall into His strong arms and just be held. 

The very One we’re fighting is the same One who wants to hold us.

#God - The very One we're fighting is the same One who wants to hold us. #JustBeHeld @castingcrowns #Faith Click To Tweet

Let the words of Casting Crown’s song, Just Be Held encourage you to surrender to God.

If you’re fighting for control, find your strength in God to let it go, and just be held.

Larry took the picture at the top of this post as Brittany and I held each other at the airport security. I lost myself in our embrace.

I went back in time to when I held her as a newborn infant.

I thought about when she’d pretend to be hurt as a toddler so I’d hold her.

And I remembered the many times she nestled into my arms as a little girl to watch a movie.

Then I memorized the feeling of her arms surrounding me and the feel of her hair against my cheek. I listened to her breathing.

I’d never taken in a moment so carefully.

And I felt completely loved being held in her embrace.

God will hold us even closer if we’ll let go and just be held.

God holds us closest when we let go. #JustBeHeld. @castingcrowns #MondayMusic #LetGo #Faith Click To Tweet