Forgiveness is one of the most beautiful words in the human vocabulary

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: I love Jesus so I know I’m supposed to forgive people who do wrong, but my best friend has lied about me and planted evidence against me at school about being involved in drugs. I’m active in my youth group and we’ve all been praying for this girl to come to the Lord, but I’m beyond angry with her for trying to ruin my reputation. Am I really still supposed to forgive her? – F.S.

Dear F.S.: 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.
Some people refuse to accept responsibility for what they have done, always blaming someone else for what happened. We cannot force another to have a spirit of forgiveness, but we can demonstrate it by how we react.
It’s not always possible to mend a broken relationship. We must be willing to go the extra mile in an effort to be reconciled with someone who has turned against us, and we should pray for them with a sincere heart.
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 family and friends, 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, NKJV).
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

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