FORGIVE WHO? FOR WHAT?
Pope John Paul II was one of the most notable leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1981 the Pope made a trip to a prison to speak with the man who tried to assassinate him and tell him that he forgave him. In 1984 the Pope appeared on the cover of TIME with the would-be assassin, shaking hands with him while his other arm was around his shoulders. Underneath the photo were the words “WHY FORGIVE?” in bold letters.
Strangely, the Pope asked readers to “pray for my brother whom I have sincerely forgiven.” Some condemned the Pope. Others agreed with the Pope. Still, others could not understand the reason the Pope did such a thing: offer to forgive him.
For most of us, forgiveness is not easy to do nor pleasant to think about. Some of us might even enjoy the resentment and anger that grows within us when we have been wronged. Some speak of their anger as a sign of strength and power. Yet
Paul saidWhen we accept and understand God’s mercy and forgiveness, He expects us to forgive others just as Jesus did to those who crucified Him. Furthermore, because God through the death of Jesus has forgiven us, He expects us to forgive others as our Savior has forgiven us. When we willingly forgive others, we begin to understand the cost of our salvation.
Prayer: Father, we pray for the willingness to forgive others who have wronged us even as our Savior willingly forgives us. May we show Your love by forgiving others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32