Monday, May 19, 2014

Powerful weapon of forgiveness

man holding sword & shield
TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Peter 3:8-22

TO CHEW ON: "Finally, all of you be of one mind having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." 1 Peter 3:8,9

Peter's idealistic instructions (especially "… not returning evil for evil, or reviling for reviling…") become all the more weighty as we recall that he wrote them to people who were suffering. And their suffering was because of their faith in Christ.

Do we even consider following his advice (that was also Jesus's) when we are wronged, stolen from, slandered, taken advantage of? What if someone took a dearest possession—say a child?

That's what happened to Cliff and Wilma Derksen in 1984. On November 30th of that year their 13-year-old daughter Candace didn't come home. About six weeks later police found her frozen body in a shed near their Winnipeg home, bound hand and feet. At the news conference following the discovery of Candace's body, when asked how they felt about the killer, Cliff said: "We would like to know who the person or persons are so we could show, hopefully, a love that seems to be missing in these peoples lives."

Wilma said, "I can't say at this point I forgive this person. But we have all done something dreadful in our lives or felt the urge to."

Writer and speaker Malcolm Gladwell contacted the Derksens while writing his book David and Goliath. He describes his visit with Wilma in an article in Relevant Magazine. She had, in the intervening years, not only forgiven the perpetrator, but also dealt with her feelings of wanting retribution over the police's suspicions that Cliff was suspect. She explained how she and Cliff got the courage from their Mennonite tradition, refined by years of persecution in Russia,  to forgive and move on.

Gladwell attributes people like the Derksens with his return to faith: "…something happened to me when I sat in Wilma Derksen's garden. It is one thing to read in a history book about people empowered by their faith. But it is quite another to meet an otherwise very ordinary person in the back yard of a very ordinary house who has managed to do something utterly extraordinary" - Malcolm Gladwell, "How I Re-discovered Faith" - Relevant Magazine, January/February 2014.

I ask myself, have I taken up weapon of forgiveness against the (by contrast, small) evils and revilings that come against me? Have you? It is another powerful weapon of the Spirit that God uses to accomplish His purposes on earth through us.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, You who know the cost of forgiveness, please help me to forgive people who have wronged me in both small and big ways. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Comments have been turned off due to daily anonymous spam.

Bookmark and Share

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...