“To forgive someone is to display reverence,” Christian inspirational writer Max Lucado says. “Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgiveness is stating that God is faithful and he will do what is right.”
Lucado anchors his definition in Proverbs 20:22: “Wait for the Lord, and he will make things right.” That’s elemental Judaeo-Christian forgiveness, and it underpins AA’s Fifth Step.
Songwriter Gerald Crabb and his extended family may understand. As a child, Gerald lived in poverty with an alcoholic father on the streets of Louisville, or with his grandmother in tiny Horse Branch, Kentucky. In the eighth grade, Gerald dropped out of school. At age eighteen he married. By age twenty-four, he was divorced and floundering with four school-aged children.
No money, no skills, no future, Gerald turned to alcohol. Then he met Kathy, a divorced mother of two. Subsequently, Gerald stopped drinking, found God, and the couple formed a new family. For over a decade through 2006, their adult children comprised The Crabb Family—a Dove award-winning, Grammy™-nominated Christian music group. One of their most powerful songs is “Please Forgive Me,” which Gerald wrote after kneeling in prayer on a muddy car wash floor. He had hit rock bottom in Kentucky. Suds a car. Cleanse a soul. But there, grace sobered him. Grace often sobers when and where we least expect it.
More recently, Gerald and Kathy divorced, and members of their successful singing group launched separate music careers (For more information, visit www.thecrabbfamily.com).
So why, you ask, should their story matter to the rest of us alcoholics? Because it confirms that spiritual healing can turn pain into miracles, and that unmerited grace changes doom into hope. It also cautions that all alcoholics suffer, fail, miss the mark and need grace. Suds a car. Cleanse a soul. And it encourages us to wait for the Lord. He is grace-noting music, not just for its makers but for universal purposes, too.
Copyright © 2009 by Randall E. Greene