“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” Luke 11:4a
David Gallagher, 54, of Haworth, Oklahoma, died on Friday, July 25, 2008. He was on his way to work an overnight shift. According to the police report, the wreck happened about 11:35 p.m. David was westbound on State Highway 3 when a car rear-ended him, forcing his pickup off the right side of the road. His truck rolled and came to rest on the driver’s side. David died at the scene.
The young man who hit David walked away from his vehicle without a scratch. Of course, he was intoxicated. He fled but was later picked up by police. He was charged with manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatality accident.
David’s wife, Kathy, was devastated. The hurt she felt over the loss of her husband quickly turned to hate. She hated the drunk driver that took her husband’s life. She hated living without David. She hated her heartache. She hated that she didn’t know what to do about her hate.
During her time of grief and hate, God spoke to Kathy through the still small voice in her heart. God said one word.
God said, “Forgive.”
“Why should I forgive?” she argued.
“Because of what unforgiveness is doing to you.”
“That’s not reason enough.”
“Have you forgotten how much I have forgiven you? Have you forgotten how I loved you so much that I gave my one and only Son for your sins? Who are you to hold the driver’s sins against him?”
Kathy realized that God was right. So, she did something amazing. She went to the McCurtain County Jail to visit the man who killed her husband. She handed him a Bible and said, “I want you to have this Bible. I want you to know Jesus.” Then she said, “I also want you to know that I forgive you. I want you to have a good life.”
The point is: Failing to forgive someone is like taking poison yourself to get back at that person. It doesn’t make sense.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “…Forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us.”
Think about was Jesus is saying for a moment. He is saying that we should ask God, “Forgive me the way I forgive other people.” Do you really want God to forgive you the way you forgive others?
If you are holding on to some bitterness that is built up in your heart from not forgiving somebody, you can let go of it today.
Listen to the voice of God speaking to you. He has a word for you. God is saying, “Forgive.”
Through Jesus you can forgive.
James Collins is pastor of Fort Scott’s First Southern Baptist Church. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.