The musical, Les Mis, is based on the novel by Victor Hugo, Les Miserable, In that musical, there is a wonderful story of a convict who was a hardened, mean man and had been in jail for ten years, doing hard labour in chains.
He was finally set free, but he had a convict card. He couldn't get a job; he couldn't even stay in a hotel room. He went to a bishop's house. The bishop let him stay over night. In the middle of the night when everyone went to sleep, the convict got up, stole a silver candle stick and crept out of the bishop's house and took off through the woods.
He was caught. He was caught by the French policemen. They came in the middle of the night, woke up the bishop and said, "We've got him, this lying, conniving thief. We've got him. This time we are going to put him away for life."
The bishop turned to this man cowering in chains and said, "That's no thief. That's my guest, Jean Valjean, but I gave him two candlesticks, not one. He forgot one." He reached in a drawer and gave him another silver candlestick. The police had to let him go.
That experience of forgiveness for something he had done wrong, that unfair act of forgiveness seeped down inside of Jean Valjean. He kept those candlesticks for the rest of his life as mementoes of what the bishop had done.
Source: Told by Philip Yancy on 30Good Minutes.