Peace and healing in forgiveness

A man was on his dying bed. He did not want to die with unforgiveness in his heart so he thought it best to call in his friend Stephen whom he had hurt many times.

When Stephen arrived at his bedside, the man expressed how painful it was to die with unforgiveness in his heart and so asked for forgiveness from Stephen.

A greatly relieved Stephen then headed for the door, when he heard his friend call out to him saying, “But Stephen, remember one thing, if I am cured from my sickness and survive, I withdraw my forgiveness.”

Evangelist Billy Graham often made hospital visits to pray over patients.

He found many struggling with unforgiveness in their heart.  He said that 75 per cent of patients in hospitals would be cured if they would forgive.

Forgiving others becomes easier when we realise and cherish God’s unconditional forgiveness towards us.

Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossians puts it beautifully.

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”(Colossians 3: 3)

Martin Luther King who led the Civil Rights movement seeking justice and equality for the blacks saw violence before him. There was a lengthy bus boycott by the blacks in Montgomery, Alabama. 

Whites retaliated by firebombing the homes of black people, even threatening their lives. In this atmosphere of hate and revenge, Martin Luther King stood up in his Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Looking across the sea of angry faces, he impressed upon them that peace comes only to those who choose to forgive.

Fifty fifth century Greek philosopher Epictetus who suffered in his early life as a slave and even the pain of a leg broken by his master, later in life wrote: “Forgiveness is better than revenge, for forgiveness is the sign of a gentle nature, but revenge is the sign of a savage nature.”

Saint Paul in his letters writes: “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.” (Romans 12:17) “And be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you.”(Ephesians 4:32)

All our worship is vanity and an abomination before God if we do not reconcile with each other.

“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you;  Leave there your gift before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mathew 5:23-24). Where there is forgiveness, peace prevails.

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