A russian story about forgiveness



‘‘Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.”


Timothy Ossepovitch, a young man of twenty, had been robbed of his money by an uncle, who also prevented his marriage to a young woman whom he loved.

In his blind rage he struck the uncle, wounding him in the head. For this he was banished to Siberia. There he prospered and married.

Sixteen years passed. He had become deeply religious, but still cherished a deep hatred against his uncle.

His circumstances were now pleasant. It was summer time. Seated in the garden among his roses, he read the Gospel, and how Simon, the Pharisee, did not receive Jesus kindly to his house.

With tears of emotion, he said, “Oh, that Christ would come to my house. Lord, if Thou wilt come, I will give Thee even my life.

Suddenly and softly came an answer, “I will come.”

Timothy Ossepovitch trembled for fear and for joy. Each day an empty chair was placed at the table, and an extra plate set.

It was Christmas Eve. “To-morrow I expect the Lord.” He invited the poor and those in affliction to eat with him.

They rose and said the Lord’s Prayer and the Eastern Christmas Hymn, “Hallelujah. Glorify Christ on our earth, Who came down from the skies.”

Then a great knocking on the wall shook the building; there was a strange noise in the entrance-hall. The door of the room opened wide.

All present rushed in terror to the remotest part of the room, some even fell down. Only the boldest ventured to look towards the door.

An old man shivered there in rags, supporting himself with his hands on either post. A strange, ruby lamp was held above him by a shining hand as white as snow, and the light fell on a scar on the old man’s head. “I had lost my way in the snowstorm, when a voice said, ‘Go quickly, instead of Me,’ and I was drawn by both hands hither, I know not how. I have wandered over the world to seek forgiveness from my nephew before I die. I have been sorely punished, and have lost all.”

Then spake Timothy Ossepovitch and said, “It is the Lord Who has guided thee here, He Who said, ‘If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink.’ Remain in my house unto your life’s end, and give me your dying blessing.”


From: Confidence, Vol. IV, No. 6, June 1911, pag. 140, Sunderland, England