Finding Forgiveness


How well I remember a dear pastor sitting in the front seat of our Open Doors “Standing Strong Through The Storm” seminar in a tribal area of North-east India. When I quoted Jesus’ biblical command that we are to love our enemies, he loudly proclaimed, “I can’t do that!” He then asked those attendees who challenged him, “Has your enemy killed your wife and children?” It was a quiet, poignant moment. But the final scene was that of a man in tears asking God’s forgiveness for a hardened heart.

In Ambon, Indonesia we saw church leaders who had been deeply hurt by significant sectarian fighting with the Muslim community resolve to ask forgiveness because they had not responded to the violence as Jesus directed. They did this officially even though they had not initiated the violence. This humility brought about a peace agreement which has lasted more than a decade.

Perhaps one of the best books written on this subject is Forgive and Forget by Dr. Lewis Smedes. He says, “Revenge never evens the score for alienated people never keep score of wrongs by the same mathematics. Forgiveness is the only way to stop the cycle of unfair pain turning in your memory.”

You may say, “I’m not involved in physical fighting nor unfair treatment of others, so this topic has no relevance for me!” It has been my observation that Christians in North America need this teaching and reminder even more than Christians in the developing world. To let this topic probe your psyche, begin looking at your own family relationships. Is there someone from whom you are alienated or with whom you refuse to associate? Forgiveness is the answer. Is there any person you know who doesn’t like you or you don’t like? Forgiveness is the answer. Do you have any enemies? Forgiveness is the answer!

Dr. Smedes’ conclusion is the unforgettable statement: “Forgiveness is love’s toughest work and love’s biggest risk!”

So as Bible believing Christians, how do we apply forgiveness to our daily living? In this series, you will learn how persecuted Christians around the world have dealt with forgiveness. And supported by scripture, you will also learn how to apply forgiveness to your situation too.
Then you can also stand strong in the storms you face.