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Pastor's Column

The power of forgiveness

  “Will you pray that God will take me home to heaven?” asked a depressed grandmother.

  Upon hearing my refusal to pray as she had requested, this troubled woman poured out a story of bitterness toward her family.  She felt unloved and unwanted because those with whom she lived seemed to show her little respect and she was unwilling to forgive them.  As a result, life didn’t seem worth living anymore.

  Perhaps you can identify with this woman with a broken heart.  If so, try forgiving those who’ve let you down and see how quickly your dark clouds disappear.

  But how can we forgive those who have wounded us deeply?

  We must hurry to the first principle of forgiveness:  God loves us and offers forgiveness to us even though we don’t deserve to be forgiven.

  In his book, “Notes on the Parables,” Richard Trench says in requesting and receiving forgiveness, we pledge ourselves to show it.

  Over half a century ago, five young missionaries were martyred in Ecuador by a group of Auca Indians.  The shocking news of this tragedy gave birth to books and other means of publicizing the heroic efforts of those who had given their lives to reach those who knew nothing about God’s love for them.

  Elizabeth Elliott’s book “Through Gates of Splendor,” became a classic telling of what happened that day on a remote jungle beach and “Jungle Pilot,” the story of Nate Saint, one of the martyred ones, challenged many to volunteer for missionary service to replace those who had lost their lives in the service of their Lord.  Saint’s statement, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” has been a mind sticker and motivator for me for half a century.

  How did the family members of these martyrs react to those who participated in this tragedy?

  They forgave them, even choosing to live among them in the jungle and continue the work of their martyred men.

  Has this forgiveness and continued ministry made a difference?

  No question about it.

  Experts say the dedicated work of these family members saved the tribe from extinction because the example of forgiveness shown to them caused these people to halt their long practice of revenge killing that had been decimating the tribe for generations.

  Forgiveness and families go together.

  Who in your family do you need to forgive?

  What example will your forgiveness be to other members in your family?

  How will your forgiveness affect your church and community?

  Let all of your anger and bitterness be put away.

  Become a forgiving person today!

  Roger Campbell was an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.  A new book containing over one hundred of his best columns, 𠇎verywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller.  Contact us at rcministry@ameritech.net


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(c) 2006 Frankenmuth News