The Power of Forgiveness
When you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too (Mark 11:25).
This is the story of two individuals and how they resolved the problems of their broken relationships.
A Christian rancher told me how he and his neighboring rancher had experienced a falling out. His neighbor was not a Christian. The Christian rancher had accused his neighbor of stealing his cattle. Their argument was so heated that they threatened to kill each other.
After two years of dispute, the Christian rancher attended one of our Lay Institutes of Evangelism. There he heard my message on forgiveness. He came to me some days later to tell this story.
He said, "When I heard you speak on forgiveness, I realized that I was a Christian, and that I should be an example to my neighbor. Yet I was afraid to go and ask him to forgive me because he had threatened to kill me. He told me if he ever saw me on his property he would shoot me. But I knew I would never have peace in my heart until I told him I was sorry. When I drove into his driveway, my neighbor came out on the porch with considerable anger and demanded, 'What do you want?' I told him that I was sorry that I had accused him of stealing my cattle, that I was wrong and since I had become a Christian I had come to ask him to forgive me."
The other rancher also apologized, explaining that he, too, had been wrong and wanted me to forgive him. He said, "Your cattle broke through the fence and onto my property a couple of years ago. I knew they were there, but when you accused me of stealing them I decided that since you accused me, that I would just leave them there. Now you have several more because of the calves that have come along. You can have your cattle back now."
Happily, the Christian rancher told me, "We're friends again. God worked a miracle just because I asked my neighbor to forgive me.
Friends, the Christian principles of love and forgiveness are not just nice theological precepts. They actually have power -- power to change lives and change situations when they are acted upon. That is because they are God's principles, they are contained in His Word, and His Word is alive and with power.
And we know that "The word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires" (Hebrews 4:12, NLT).
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.