Just the other day, I was watching the movie Hansie, a remarkable and true account of the former South African Cricketer, Hansie Cronje (1969-2002). After years of isolation from the international community (because of apartheid), when the nation was re-discovering itself, Hansie became South Africa’s golden boy. As captain, he took his country’s cricket side from being seventh in the table to the top. His climb to popularity is truly sensational. He was not seen merely as a cricketer but an inspiring role model for thousands of South Africans, both black and white. Surely, he was destined to shine all the way, moving from greatness to greatness. Alas, Hansie’s life took a turn. The news of his involvement with Indian bookmakers rocked the international sporting community in April 2000. His unprecedented rise to glory was followed by the most horrific fall, made worse by the fact that he was an out-spoken Christian. In spite of the fact, Hansie made honest public confession (unlike many other fallen heroes); the poster-boy now became an object of national shame and ridicule. He was thrown out of the cricket world and society as the ‘bad guy.’ Hansie was heart-broken and totally shattered. He went into a shell. The movie beautifully brings out the fallen hero’s struggle to overcome his own guilt and self-pity. Two people helped him in his journey back to life. One was his friend and mentor Peter Pollack and the other was his dearest wife Bertha. One of the finest moments in the movie is a conversation between Peter and Hansie. Peter makes an inspiring statement, “Hansie, God has forgiven you long ago. It is time that you forgive yourself now.”
Some of us cannot ‘get over’ our failures in life. We wallow in deep guilt and self-pity for too long. We just cannot forget our mistakes and move on with life. We keep an account of all that we ‘shouldn’t have done.’ Perhaps, we have already punished ourselves more than what our failures deserve.
I can think of at least two reasons why we hesitate to forgive ourselves. First, many of us cannot admit our susceptibility to commit sinful errors in life. We think we are not like many others folks around us. We have lived a self-righteous life. Therefore, when fall happens we just cannot accept it. Our failures remind us that we too belong to the fallen race. Friends, it needs a lot of humility to accept that we too are vulnerable to failures (I Jn.1:8). Yes, to err is human! Second, some of us are not able to accept the fact that people around us are unforgiving. We keep wondering how people could be so harsh on us for our failures. We wait for the world to forgive us and accept us. Friends, the reality is that some people will forgive us and some will not. There will always be people who will latch on to our failures and bring us down. This again should serve us as an eye-opener of the fallen world in which we live.
Friends, it is time to let yourself free from the unnecessary burden of guilt you are bearing for so long. The Scripture tells us that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I Jn. 1:9). There is no sin which cannot be forgiven by the blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (Isa.1:18). What a friend we have in Jesus…All our sins and griefs to bear! Now, forgive yourself and move on with life.
Devotional by Sam K John