For Ryan Hallet, this isn’t just a place, it’s a crime scene. It’s a location where lives changed and a path was set. But, above all, it is a tangible reminder of mistakes for which he has spent fifteen years trying to atone. Today we’ll be looking at Ryan’s efforts to absolve himself of his past “crimes,” why he “never really can,” and be reminded of a powerful truth in the process.
"I tried to spend the rest of my life making up for what I did----but you never really can."
Ryan Hallet has spent the last fifteen years trying to make up for what transpired that fateful night of March 23. It is a journey that still finds him returning to the scene of two crimes----the heart he broke and the life he took.
As he sits by Maddie’s bedside, Ryan shares his promise to never forget the second chance he was given, and it seems all his energy has been spent using that second chance to do good. His commitment to public service is clear--- he is the Governor of Colorado, after all. Did you also notice Shane and Oliver met him as he served soup at a homeless shelter?
And yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that every area of Ryan’s life has become, in a sense, prisoner to this past transgression. This is particularly clear when he confesses, “I’m still trying to forgive myself, Maddie. But when I’m [at (our) tree], somehow I do feel forgiven.” His words suggests that, no matter how much good he does, the feeling of forgiveness isn't permanent. Perhaps this explains why he goes back to that tree not just annually, but monthly---to feel that forgiveness again.
Christ died on a wooden Cross for our second chance. No manner or single act of good, no act of human will, can supersede what Christ accomplished on the Cross. He died for our pardon, our freedom, to move on with our lives and live them to their fullest.
This is why Ryan, who has spent fifteen years re-visiting that tree and struggling with the past, committing himself to the service of others as a way to pay his perceived debt, can never pay it in full. The penalty for his “crime” was already paid at the Cross. If Ryan Hallet could fully embrace this truth, he might finally be able to forgive himself completely and move forward, leaving his crime scene behind for good.
The same gift is available to us as well. For anyone holding onto a "crime," unable to break free, just remember that Christ died for your pardon. He died for your privilege to "leave the past in the past" for any and all "crimes" you may have committed. You can't earn your freedom because it already belongs to you.
What an amazing gift! And what an incredible lesson embedded in From The Heart!