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Forgetting and Forgiveness

            A friend of Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, once reminded her of an especially cruel thing that had been done to her years before. But Miss Barton seemed not to recall it. “Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked.

            “No,” Came the reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.”

            You can’t be free and happy if you harbor grudges, so put them away. Get rid of them. Collect postage stamps, or collect coins, if you wish—but don’t collect grudges.


Forgetting and Forgiveness

            A man who was telling his friend about an argument he’d had with his wife commented, “Oh, how I hate it, every time we have an argument, she gets historical.”

            The friend replied, “You mean hysterical.}

            “No,” he insisted. “I mean historical. Every time we argue she drags up everything from the past and holds it against me!”


Example of Human Forgiveness

When the first missionaries came to the province of Alberta, Canada, they were savagely opposed by a young chief of the Cree Indians named Maskepetoon.  Eventually he responded to the gospel and accepted Christ.  Shortly afterward, a member of the Blackfoot tribe who hated him killed his father.  Maskepetoon rode into the village where the murderer lived and demanded that he be brought before him.  Confronting the guilty man, he said, "You have killed my father, so now YOU must be my father.  You shall ride my best horse and wear my best clothes."  In utter amazement and remorse his enemy exclaimed, "My son, now you have killed me!"  He meant, of course, that the hate in his own heart had been completely erased by the forgiveness and kindness of the Indian chief.


Human Enjoined Forgiveness

Some years ago, Dr. M.R. De Haan, founder of the Radio Bible Class, said, "You can't judge the spirituality of a Christian on the basis of his prayers, since praying is often done for its effect on the listeners.  Nor can you gauge a person's spiritual status by the loudness of his 'amens' and 'hallelujahs.'  Even the liberality of one's giving is not an infallible test.  It, too may be done for personal recognition or to ease one's conscience.  I'm convinced that the surest test of the depth of our relationship with God is found in our willingness to forgive others."  Showing this attitude through acts of kindness for those who have offended us often erases all feelings of bitterness in their hearts.



        Madrid, Spain (AP) 7/23/81—King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia decided to boycott the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana to continue a protest dating to 1704. The Spanish government announced Tuesday that the king and queen declined the invitation to next week’s wedding because the royal couple plan to go to Gibraltar to board the royal yacht Britannia for a honeymoon cruise. Gibraltar has been a British colony since 1704.

        Two hundred and seventy-seven years seems like a long time to carry a grudge!



        It is said that a rattlesnake, if cornered, will sometimes become so upset that it will bite itself. That is exactly what the harboring of hate and resentment against others is—a biting of oneself. We think that we are harming others in holding these grudges and hates, but the deeper harm is to ourselves.



            Nothing is easier than faultfinding: no talent, no self-denial, no brains, and no character are required to set up in the grumbling business.



            Faults are like the headlights of a car: those of others seem more glaring than your own.



Janine Brooks was a dental student when a man ran into her car and drove away.  That was 10 years ago.  Her damaged car resulted in a considerable financial burden on her student income but the motorist neither apologized nor ever paid for the damage he had done until now.  Now it is 10 years later.  Janine Brooks, the former student, is now a dentist and guess who came to her office needing a tooth to be pulled?  He did not recognize her; she did recognize him.  She told him it wouldn't hurt; she lied. --Associated Press  4-9-90



        Leonard Holt was a paragon of respectability. He was a middle-aged, hard-working lab technician who had worked at the same Pennsylvania paper mill for nineteen years. Having been a Boy Scout leader, an affectionate father, a member of the local fire brigade, and a regular church attender, he was admired as a model in his community. Until that image exploded in a well-planned for of bloodshed one brisk October morning.

        A proficient marksman, Leonard Holt stuffed two pistols in his coat pockets and drove to the mill. He stalked slowly into his shop and began shooting with calculated frenzy. He filled several co-workers with two or three bullets apiece, firing more than thirty shots, killing some men he had known for more than fifteen years. When the posse found him standing defiantly in his doorway, he snarled, “Come and get me, you—I’m not taking any more of your--!” Bewilderment swept the community.

        Puzzled policemen and friends finally found a train of logic behind his brief reign of terror. Down deep within the heart of Leonard Holt rumbled the giant of resentment. His monk-like exterior concealed the seething hated within. The investigation yielded the following facts. Several victims had been promoted over him while he remained in the same position. More than one in Holt’s carpool had quit riding with him due to his reckless driving. The man was brimming with resentment-rage that could be held no longer. Beneath his picture in Time, the caption told the story: Responsible, Respectable, and Resentful.”



. Unmerited forgiveness. “ When they had nothing to pay, He frankly forgave them both” (Luke 7:42).

. Divine forgiveness. “ To Lord our God belong mercy and forgivenesses” (Daniel 9:9).

. Purchased forgiveness. “ In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph.1:7).

. Free forgiveness. “ That they may receive forgiveness of sins……by faith that is in Me” (Acts 26:18).

. Full forgiveness. “Having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col.2:13).

. Practical forgiveness. “ Forgive us our debts, as we forgive” (Matthew 6:12).

. Known forgiveness. “ Your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1. John 2:12).

── F.E. MarshFive Hundred Bible Readings