Rachael Denhollander, former gymnast and committed Christian, delivered a strong and clear testimony of God’s saving power while appearing in court.
Ms Denhollander, who had been sexually abused by disgraced team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nasser, was given 40 minutes to address the court and Nasser during his sentencing. Instead of using the time to berate her abuser, she preached a clear message of sin, the need to repent, and God’s wonderful grace.
The full transcript is available on news channel CNN (turned at 25 minutes), when Ms Denhollander refers to Nasser’s earlier courtroom appearances, in which he brought his Bible and spoke about prayer. Her direct appeal to Nasser is written in full on the Gospel Coalition’s website (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org).
She said: ‘You spoke of praying for forgiveness. But Larry, if you have read the Bible you carry, you know forgiveness does not come from doing good things, as if good deeds can erase what you have done.
‘It comes from repentance, which requires facing and acknowledging the truth about what you have done in all of its utter depravity and horror without mitigation, without excuse, without acting as if good deeds can erase what you have seen in this courtroom today.
‘The Bible you speak of carries a final judgment where all of God’s wrath and eternal terror is poured out on men like you. Should you ever reach the point of truly facing what you have done, the guilt will be crushing.
‘And that is what makes the gospel of Christ so sweet. Because it extends grace and hope and mercy where none should be found. And it will be there for you.
‘I pray you experience the soul-crushing weight of guilt, so you may someday experience true repentance and true forgiveness from God, which you need far more than forgiveness from me — though I extend that to you as well’.
Some 265 former pupils have come forward to say they were sexually abused by Nasser. He has been found guilty on most charges and sentenced to 60 years imprisonment.