Two years after her husband, Jim Elliot, was brutally murdered, Elisabeth Elliot made the courageous decision to go back and minister to the very tribe that took his life.
On an episode of Farawaydistance, Becca Elizabeth Bowen shares the beautiful story of this faithful couple who lived their lives on mission to spread the good news of Jesus no matter the cost.
After investing God’s love, grace, and kindness toward the Auca Tribe in Ecuador, the tribe suddenly became nervous about accepting people from outside their world and Elliot, along with four other men, were mercilessly killed for the Gospel they so boldly professed.
From a human standpoint, forgiveness is complicated, conditional, and often times based on the apology of the other party. But from God’s point of view, forgiveness is free and should be freely given even if the words “I’m sorry” are never spoken.
Elisabeth Elliot’s response to her husband’s murderers is an example that ultimately points to the mercy God poured out through Jesus on the Cross. She went back to the Auca tribe to build relationships with them which eventually led to God’s forgiveness shining through her, causing many of them to come to salvation in Christ. Elisabeth Elliot’s life is on outflow of this truth laid out in Romans:
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV).
“Every single thing, God can work good out of it,” Bowen said. Even the losses threatening to break and test the faith of believers, God uses for their sanctification and His overall glory. God is always working, and just like Jesus’ suffering on the Cross led to eternal life for all who trust in Him, God will turn the trials Christians walk through into stories of victory and redemption.
Elisabeth Elliot’s life is an urgent call for believers today to walk in attitudes and actions of forgiveness toward those who wrong them. In turn, they will experience the divine freedom that comes from exchanging chains of bitterness for a heart at peace and surrendered to the limitless grace of God.