The Encouragement of Forgiveness
When I was a pastor in Clarksburg, West Virginia, there was a member of the church by the name of Husky. He was in his mid 70’s when I was his pastor. There were times he would come by my office just to talk. He was a delightful person. He had served in the Navy. One day he brought me a picture of himself as a boxer in the Navy.
On one occasion I was preparing to preach a sermon on “forgiveness.” Husky read about the topic in our weekly newsletter and came by the church to talk with me.
He said, “My daughter would have been 39 next Sunday. She was pregnant when she was killed by a drunk driver. So I not only lost her but my unborn grandson.”
Husky continued, “After the funeral I decided I was going to kill the man who killed my daughter. I had it all planned out. I would call him on the phone and tell him what I was going to do. He changed his number, but I found out what it was and I called him.
One night while he and Wanda (his wife) were watching television, he said, “I was thinking, ‘Call him.’ ‘Kill him.’ ‘Call him.’ ‘Kill him.'”
Husky then said, “I got up and went to the phone. I called him. I asked him if he knew who I was? And he said that he did. I told him that night that I had decided to forgive him.”
Husky then said to me, “There was a weight lifted from that shoulders that evening that I had experienced only one other time in my life. That is when I knelt at the altar of this church and gave my life to Jesus.”
Wow! What an encouraging word!
Is that why Paul wrote, “Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.”? Ephesians 4:29 (Today’s English Version)
Who has forgiven you? Who do you need to offer forgiveness to? What step will you take today to make it so?