Thought of the Day June 20, 2023 Forgiveness, an obligation

By 10:53 AM


There was a Baptist pastor during the American Revolution, Peter Miller, who lived in Ephrata, Pennsylvania and enjoyed the friendship of George Washington. In Ephrata also lived Michael Wittman, an evil-minded sort who did all he could to oppose and humiliate the pastor. One day Michael Wittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to die. Peter Miller travelled seventy miles on foot to Philadelphia to plead for the life of the traitor.

No, Peter,” General Washington said. I cannot grant you the life of your friend.” “My friend!” exclaimed the old preacher. Hes the bitterest enemy I have.” “What?” cried Washington, Youve walked seventy miles to save the life of an enemy? That puts the matter in different light. Ill grant your pardon.” And he did. Peter Miller took Michael Wittman back home to Ephrata, no longer an enemy but a friend. This is a concrete example of loving our own enemies.

For a disciple of Jesus, forgiveness is not an option but an obligation. God has forgiven me when I was an enemy by giving his life in place of mine, so that I could live eternally with him. That is a debt I can never begin to repay. When I, in turn, forgive another for the wrong doing they did to me, I am not being generous, but grateful to God for his forgiveness. It is not  the other who is the focus, but God with whom I want to remain in relationship with. I don't want the other person to come in between me and God. When I fail to forgive, I placed that person's wrong doing in between me and God. I allow the other person to be a block to my eternal salvation. So, when I struggle to forgive another, look at the cross and decide who is more important, Jesus or the other.

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