Are you harboring a grudge? Is the offense too much to forgive?
Here’s the story.
Andrew Collins was a narcotics officer for the Benton Harbor, Michigan police department. Working on a tip from an informant he was watching for a suspected drug deal when Jameel McGee walked out of a nearby convenience store and headed in the direction of a car Collins had been watching. Cocaine was found in that vehicle.
In order to make an arrest and further his career, Collins lied about McGee’s identity and claimed he was in the vehicle where the cocaine was found, when in fact he wasn’t.
McGee was sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession with intent to distribute.
But instead of being a stepping stone, Collins’ career began to spiral out of control because of his own criminal activity. He was stealing money from the city, he was planting drugs on innocent people to get convictions and drugs were found in his office. Suicide seemed the only solution.
Instead, at his wife’s insistence, he met with a pastor who asked him about his relationship with God.
Collins answered, “I don’t deserve Jesus’ love.” The pastor told him, “That’s why it’s called grace. You didn’t earn it and I don’t deserve it either.”
Collins accepted Christ as his Savior and set out to atone for his wrongs.
He went to the FBI and confessed his crimes. He was sentenced to 37 months in prison and tasked with combing through his cases with the federal government to right his wrongs. One of those cases was Jameel McGee.
McGee was behind bars but also struggling with God. He was filled with anger at his unjust sentence. He found out he had a son, one he couldn’t spend time with because he was in prison. He vowed to harm Collins when he got out. But with lots of time on his hands, he started reading the Bible. He said “my mind went blank and God stepped in.” He gave his bitterness to God.
McGee’s conviction was overturned and he was released. Two years later he met his son for the first time and took him to a nearby park to play. Andrew Collins was there.
McGee walked up to him and said, “Do you remember my name?” Then looking at his son he said to Collins, “Can you tell him why I wasn’t there for him?”
Collins said that question hurt worse than being punched. Collins apologized but the air was filled with tension as McGee gripped Collins hand hard and wouldn’t let go.
McGee said he was waiting for God to tell him what to do.
Four years later both McGee and Collins were in a Jobs for Life program. Neither knew the other was involved. Part of the program is to assign a mentor to those looking for work. The mentor assigned to McGee was Collins.
They met. They prayed together. Collins apologized again feeling he hadn’t done an adequate job the first time.
McGee told him “It’s over. I believed you,” adding “If God didn’t forgive us, where would that leave us?”
Collins says now when he’s angry with someone and holding a grudge, God reminds him of Jameel’s forgiveness and his need to forgive.
McGee and Collins are now best friends and have written a book together about their ordeal titled “Convicted.”