Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful words in the human vocabulary
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Dear Rev. Graham: My friend tried to turn my friends away from me and I said some terrible things to her, but then forgave her. Now she won’t forgive me for what I said to her. Isn’t she wrong? — F.H.
Dear F.H.: Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful words in the human vocabulary and is best illustrated by God’s forgiveness of sin. When someone sins against us, they bear a terrible guilt. Likewise, when we refuse to forgive a wrong, we become part of the problem. When God’s people practice forgiveness, sweetness replaces harshness.
We cannot force another to have a spirit of forgiveness, but we can demonstrate it by how we react. It is not always possible to mend a broken relationship. Some people refuse to accept responsibility for what they have done, always blaming someone else for what happened. Be willing to go the extra mile in an effort to be reconciled with someone who has turned against you, and remember always to pray for them. Remember to treat others as you would like to be treated (see Luke 6:31).
A marvelous example of this is revealed in the life of Joseph. His brothers were jealous of him and sold him into slavery. But as the Old Testament story unfolds in Genesis 50, we see that Joseph did not hold it against them. The Lord used Joseph to save his family, and even a whole nation. Because of Joseph’s demonstration of forgiveness, he was blessed of God. If we cannot find it in our hearts to forgive within our own family, we will never exhibit this attribute of Christ with others and know God’s blessings. “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)