DAY ONE: Jesus' Example
A man named John Perkins showed how Jesus’ forgiveness is what enabled him to forgive. This is what he says:
The Spirit of God worked on me as I lay in that bed. An image formed in my mind. The image of the cross—Christ on the cross. It blotted out everything else in my mind.
Like me, Jesus went through an unjust trial. He also faced a lynch mob and got beaten. But even more than that, He was nailed to rough wooden planks and killed. Killed like a common criminal….
But when He looked at the mob that had lynched Him, He didn’t hate them. He loved them. He forgave them. And He prayed [to] God to forgive them. “Father, forgive these people, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
His enemies hated. But Jesus forgave. I couldn’t get away from that.
The Spirit of God kept working on me and in me until I could say with Jesus, “I forgive them, too.” I promised Him that I would “return good for evil,” not evil for evil. And He gave me the love I knew I would need to fulfill His command to me of “love your enemy.” …
It’s a profound, mysterious truth—Jesus’ concept of love overpowering hate. I may not see its victory in my lifetime. But I know it’s true.
I know it’s true, because it happened to me. On that bed, full of bruises and stitches—God made it true in me. He washed my hatred away and replaced it with a love for the white man in rural Mississippi.
I felt strong again. Stronger than ever. What doesn’t destroy me makes me stronger.
I know it’s true. Because it happened to me.
(John Perkins, Let Justice Roll Down – Regal Books Division, G/L Publications)