All posts tagged: forgiving others

Families of abducted missionaries in Haiti say they have forgiven the gang members

The families of 17 missionaries and their families (including five children) who were kidnapped in Haiti by the violent 400 Mawozo gang have recently issued statements on the website of Christian Aid Ministries that they have chosen to forgive the gang for the kidnapping. This follows on the heels of a video released on Oct 22, 2021 by the gang’s leader, Wilson Joseph, who goes by the name of ‘Death without Days,’ where he stated that every one of them would be killed if his ransom demand of $1 million each was not met. He said, “I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans.” Several of the family members have since responded that they have chosen to forgive the kidnappers, with some stating they are in fact praying for the salvation of the gang members: “We are interested in the salvation of these men, and we love them.” Parent of one of the hostages.” As a family, we are …

Going the ‘extra mile’ of forgiveness in Zimbabwe

In Matthew 5:41, Jesus was referring to an interesting privilege available to Roman soldiers when he told his disciples, ‘If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.’ It’s where we get the idiom used today, about ‘going the extra mile.’ It is based on a Roman law, that allowed a Roman soldier to compel any idle, able-bodied man or a man walking in the same direction, provided he was not a Roman citizen, to carry the soldier’s armour for one thousand paces or approximately a mile. Jesus taught if a soldier required this of you, instead of resenting and fighting it, a person should forgive and offer to carry the soldier’s armour two miles. In the verse prior to this, Jesus also taught if a man steals your shirt, then give your cloak as well. And CBN reports that this is the attitude that Craig Deall and his family took in 2003, when the Zimbabwe government seized their farm, without compensation. It was part of the government’s land reform policy …

Forgiving others is your gift to you

I have learned over the years that forgiveness isn’t about the one who hurt you.  Forgiving others for what they did, is all about you! It is one of the healthiest choices, you can make for yourself and your well-being. We need to have the mindset that when it comes to forgiving others, you are doing it for you and no one else. Joyce Meyers describes forgiveness as a gift that you give yourself. She writes, “Forgiveness is about you, even if the other person doesn’t forgive you.   Forgiveness begins 100% with you. It’s a gift you give yourself.” Often, we confuse forgiveness with making amends with the person who hurt us. Joyce reiterates that forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person at all! Whether they apologize or don’t, you need to forgive first. At times, we may try to downplay what the other person did to deal with the hurt, but that is not the solution. You need to forgive, because it transforms you from a victim into the victor. I …

The red flag: Moving past anger

When dealing with anger, it seems that we often make it about the other person, the one who sparked our anger. We blame our anger on them and their actions or words, and rarely about our response and the way we handled the offence. I read where one author treated his anger like a marker or a red flag, as he called it. Whenever he felt a reaction to an offence and recognized the anger that was rising from it, he literally visualized planting a red flag in the ground, staking out where his anger began. From that moment, he would take personal responsibility for his anger and not make it about the other person, as he intentionally worked towards creating a response that would bring resolve and peace for himself.   Looking back at the red flag marker, he could see how far he had come from his initial response.   This has been an awesome visualization that I practice when I feel anger stirring in me.  And, the goal, of course, is to move past the red …

How a daughter forgave her infamous serial killer dad

In a recent interview on 100 Huntley Street, Kerri Rawson, shared the heartbreaking story of when she found out her dad, Dennis Rader, was a serial killer and how God brought her to the point of being able to forgive her father. In 2005, the police arrested Dennis Radar for murdering ten people including a father, mother and two children between 1974 and 1991 in and around Wichita, Kansas. He was a serial killer who went by several acronyms including BTK, which Rader gave himself, that stood for ‘blind, torture, kill.’ He was also labelled as the BTK strangler and BTK killer by the media. During his killing spree, Rader sent letters to media and police taunting their efforts to catch him, but it was these letters that eventually led to his arrest and subsequent sentence of 10 consecutive life sentences. The arrest came when Rader started re-sending letters and messages to the media in 2004 after a several year hiatus. It was a floppy disk sent to Fox News that played a major role …

Why Kelly forgave her husband’s murderers?

There is a lot of anger in the world today, and a lot of reasons to justify our anger and certainly Kelly Saenz had a reason. While working in Colombia sharing the Gospel, Kelly and Pabel Saenz met and were married in 2008 and continued to work together, sharing their faith in the South American country. But things took a dramatic turn in November 2014, when Pabel, who was working as a motorcycle taxi driver, disappeared after going into a dangerous region in Colombia. Kelly spent the next couple of days frantically searching for her husband, but three days later she received word from the regional police that her husband was dead having been choked to death by two men in the area that Pabel had travelled to. When she found out where her husband had died, Kelly went to the village and met with the chief to discuss her husband’s murder. It was then she discovered that two of the chief’s nephews were the ones’ responsible. In a meeting with the village council, she …

Brett chose not to become a stabbing victim

In a video on CBN, Brett Lynn, who works as a mechanic in a family owned business in Philadelphia explains how the Holy Spirit stopped him from becoming a stabbing victim. In 2013, he had just dropped his children off at gymnastics, and he was pulling into the driveway of his home around 6 PM when he noticed someone trying to break into vehicles in the lot of the family business near his home. Brett got out of his car and confronted the man. But the man immediately reacted when Brett told him to leave. Brett braced for a physical confrontation, but unknown to Brett, the man had a knife and stabbed Brett in gut and then ran off. At first Brett thought he had been punched but when he grabbed his stomach, he actually felt his intestines. But as the ambulance was taking him to the hospital, the Holy Spirit was already speaking to Brett about needing to forgive the man. The man who stabbed Brett had graduated from Brett’s high school, and had …

54 | Are you an injustice collector?

FOLLOW OUR PODCAST ON (search opentheword): Itunes Stitcher Spotify Google Play IHeartRadio TuneIn Podchaser PODCAST NOTES: Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast I am asking are you an injustice collector? Several years ago, my wife and I invited a newly married Christian couple over to our home. I have no idea what we are talking about. I vaguely remember it was about church — but this is important — it wasn’t anything serious. It was just a casual conversation. It wasn’t about anyone or anything. Suddenly, the husband exploded in absolute rage. Anger poured out of him like hot lava. We were shocked. His wife looked at him with her mouth wide open. After things subsided a bit, I asked him why he was so upset by what we were talking about. He sheepishly looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, and said “I don’t know.” Something in what we said triggered him. It could have been a single word or phrase. But whatever it was it unleashed a torrent of rage. …

As in the Days of Noah: Three warnings from the church shooting in Texas

There might be three things that we can take away from the violent church shooting that took place at the West Freeway Church of Christ, in White Settlement, Texas on Sunday, December 29, 2019. A transient walked into the church during the service and opened fire killing one person and critically injuring another, before being killed by the church’s armed security guard. It was a disturbing act of violence, but is part of a trend of violent attacks against churches in recent years: June 2015: A man walks into a Bible study of Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston with a gun killing nine. September 2017: One person was killed and seven people wounded after a gunman started shooting at a church in Nashville, Tennessee. November 2017: 26 people were killed, and 20 wounded, when a gunman opened fire at a church service at the First Baptist Church in Sunderland Springs, Texas So what exactly is going on? As in the Days of Noah Jesus warned in his description of the end times, that in …

Forgive and Love

Forgiveness is a tough thing. It is like it has a mind of its own.  There are even times in which we can say we forgive someone and actually believe we did forgive them only to find ourselves angry at them and replaying the hurt over and over again. There are people who seem to forgive every offense. On the other end of the forgiveness spectrum are people who never forgive. They remember every hurt and wear their anger as armor to protect them from further hurts. The first group allow themselves to be trampled upon and the second group do the trampling. There are many formulas written about forgiveness including steps to forgiveness, rituals to help us forgive, and even face to face meetings set up with the ones who hurt us. Most of these are external and miss what the Bible says. Forgiveness is based on the greatest commands of Jesus. Commands that sum up all the laws and prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus said, “Love your God with all your mind, …

It’s up to you, not them

Christmas is often the time of year when unhealthy feelings towards others are exposed and maybe it’s the pressure of the season that makes these ‘triggers’ more volatile. Lately I have been developing clear principles to follow when ‘I am offended.’ How to forgive and keeping myself in the mindset of ‘forgiveness’ often eludes me.  For me, it has to be simple, as my mind grasps concepts best when they are easy to remember.  First, I needed to get a grip on my ‘trigger’ moments when I find myself suddenly engulfed in waves of emotions that carry me to places where I don’t want to go. Fundamentally, forgiving is a choice we make to step forward and away from the feelings that hold us hostage to the unhealthy energies of anger, bitterness, resentment and offense.  One key principle that has helped me immensely this past week has been allowing myself to feel the emotions and acknowledge each one as they roll around in my life. It doesn’t do us any good to stifle what we …

The ‘Act’ of Forgiveness

How do we forgive? I seem to have forgotten because this past week I was triggered twice and found myself engulfed by emotions that had not been there 30 seconds before the incidents.  And, I struggled by first reacting and then instinctively trying to push the thoughts out of my mind. I knew I needed to forgive and wanted to forgive but the angry thoughts swirled in my mind and the more I tried to get rid of them, the more they kept resurfacing. It was out of control, and I was not handling things well as I spouted off to my husband how I felt. I thought I knew better and also believed I could handle these unexpected triggers. But obviously, I was wrong. I immediately recognized that my emotions had a hold on me and were pulling me into an unhealthy state of mind. I asked myself, who was in charge at this moment? Well, it obviously wasn’t me. The Bible talks about our need to forgive, because our Heavenly Father knows that …

The ability to forgive others is birthed in fully understanding our forgiveness

A Dallas jury recently found former police officer Amber Guyger, 31, guilty of killing Botham Jean, a believer, and worship leader at a Church of Christ in Dallas. Though the prosecutor was asking for a sentence of 28 years, Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison. It was a bizarre story. Guyger lived in the same apartment building as Botham. She was a police officer and had just finished her shift in September 2018 and was returning home. But according to her testimony, distracted by texts, she inadvertently mistook Botham’s apartment for her own. Apparently Botham’s door was unlocked and thinking this was her apartment, Guyger was immediately suspicious that someone had broken in. When Botham stood up, thinking he was an intruder, Guyger pulled her gun, and shot Botham, killing him. There were obviously a lot of questions about this senseless killing and many were upset that Guyger hadn’t received a longer sentence. In fact, there were protesters outside the court room demanding a longer prison term. But after the sentencing came down, …

Me Forgive? No Way!

Betrayal is a nasty word. But that is how we feel when people we love and trust suddenly turn on us. It is tough to forgive someone we want to kick in the shins. Yet the Bible says we are to forgive even them. The Bible sure doesn’t understand, does it? Surely God would be on my side! I’m the victim here. Didn’t David ask God to dash his enemies and their children to pieces on rocks? Can’t I pray for God to destroy my once friends now enemies? Well, of course you can. You can ask God for anything you want. Doesn’t mean you will get it. And when you are talking with God, I have to warn you, he talks back! And if you start quoting the Bible to Him, He might just point out that He wrote it, that the Word is Him, and throw some quotes your way. Rather than get into a bunch of quotes about forgiveness, let’s talk about why you ought to forgive. First, let me confess that …

What it means to go the extra mile

For years my life revolved around how people hurt and wronged me but the light has recently been turned on exposing areas where I may have offended or hurt others in the past.  As God revealed this to me, I have done my best to make amends and it has been hard work. It’s never easy admitting that I was the one who erred, and I was the one doing the offending. It is all about going that “extra mile” in our Christian walk. Though the phrase going the extra mile is in our modern vernacular, in fact it has a Biblical root and comes from a statement Jesus said to His disciples: “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. “ (Matthew 5:41) In this verse, Jesus was describing the practice of “impressment” that was common at that time. According to Roman law, any Roman soldier could order a Jewish civilian to carry the soldier’s baggage, often his heavy armor, for one Roman mile  (1.45 km). Obviously, the Jews …

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Venom or victory

It has become clear to me that forgiveness is a practice.  It is something you just do when you recognize resentment, anger or even hatred building in your life towards another person. Each of us must come to that place where we recognize that these symptoms debilitate and dis-empower us from becoming the best version of ourselves for the glory of God.  Forgiveness is not about the other person, it is always about what is best for you. When we are bitten by the venomous snake of unforgiveness, it sucks out our potential and purpose. Left unchecked, its poison will travel through the veins to our heart and once there we lose sight of everything that is important to us. The people we love end up getting contaminated by this venomous reptile, as we slither around with a forked tongue spewing and releasing venom onto our loved ones. Forgiveness needs to become a practice in our lives. We need to determine in advance, when offended we will forgive.  Sometimes it won’t be easy and will …

Jesus wants to heal the broken hearted Credit: Diego Sevilla Ruiz/Flickr/Creative Commons

Healing your broken heart

In an interview with Psychology Today, a secular therapist based in New York City suggests that struggles we are having with cow0rkers may be a result of unresolved issues with our family. Maria Baratta said that certain actions of coworkers may be subconsciously reminding you of the behavior of family members and triggering your negative reaction. According to Baratta the key to dealing with this is to recognize what is happening as this is the first step of dealing with your negative reactions. However, Jesus went one step further. One day, Peter asked Christ how many times does a person need to forgive his brother and sister, and threw out a number of seven times? This suggests some family issue had popped up or at the very least a memory of an earlier incident. I suspect Peter thought he was being magnanimous when he suggested seven times (Matthew 18:21), because the Jewish rabbis taught that a person didn’t need to forgive more than three times and often cited Amos 1:3-13 as the basis for this …

Joseph interprets the dreams of the Pharaoh by Adrien Guignet (1816-1854): Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Does forgiving forget?

I remember years ago, I was selling advertising for a small newspaper. I was walking down the street to a particular business, when a memory of something that had happened years earlier flooded my mind. It was video replay of the incident. Something I saw or heard on that street triggered that memory.  I had about four or five memories that routinely plagued me. I would do something and suddenly there would a flashback of something negative that happened to me years earlier. There were about four or five memories that continually plagued me. But this time I did something different. As I walked down the street I asked God why I was having these memory flashbacks and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me it was happening because I hadn’t forgiven the people involved in the incident. I had thousands of things happen to me as I was growing up and I would not be able to remember them if you paid me, but there were about four or five memories that I …

The main mound of the ancient city of Nineveh on the Plains of Nineveh Credit: fredarch/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

The power of forgiveness

When the Islamic extremist group ISIS invaded the Nineveh Plains in North Eastern Iraq over four years ago, the 140,000 Assyrian Christians living there were given three choices convert to Islam, die or flee. The Nineveh Plains are home to the ancient ruins of Nineveh, the city that the prophet Jonah called to repentance. Christians have inhabited this area for 2,000 years and many speak modern Aramaic, a version of the language that many believe Jesus spoke. Tens of thousands of Assyrian Christians fled into neighboring countries where they lived for years as ISIS ravaged their homeland. The Islamic extremists were determined to wipe out any evidence of the Christian faith on the Nineveh plain. ISIS leveled an estimated 13,000 homes of Christians, destroyed 263 Christian churches and obliterated Christian monuments including the tomb of Jonah. Christian cemeteries were also destroyed and purposefully desecrated. ISIS was determined to wipe out the memory of the Christians who had lived on this plain for the past 2,000 years.  But with ISIS routed, four years later Christians are …

Katie Lee Gifford Credit: United States Department of Interior/Wikipedia and Howard Stern Credit: Bill Norton/Wikipedia

The strange case of Kathie Lee Gifford and Howard Stern

In Matthew 5: 38-43, Jesus taught us how to deal with our enemies. It was strange advice. Christ said if a man hits you on the cheek, let him hit the other cheek and if a man takes your shirt then offer him your coat. It was the exact opposite of how we would want to react in these type of situations. So what was the purpose of this? I believe one of the things that Jesus was telling us is that we need to take the initiative, be proactive, in situations where we could be offended. God is calling us to make the peace. And this is exactly the situation that Kathie Lee Gifford found herself in with Howard Stern. Kathie, 64, is a singer, song writer, actress and co-host of NBC’s Today show. She is also an outspoken Christian. Howard Stern, 64, is a radio and television personality and is best known for the Howard Stern Show and has earned the reputation as a “shock jock.” On an episode of the Today show earlier …

Credit: quimby/Flickr/Creative Commons

Open your heart again

Sometimes jealousy strikes me when I least expect it. It could be a Facebook post where someone shared a great thought or perception of their life. I am ashamed to say that I find myself closing my heart to that person. And then I must do the brave and honest thing if I want my light to keep shining out into my world and open my heart to that person once again. Maybe you are like me and find your heart opening and closing many times in a day. Open to the prospects of a new day and then closed again because someone said something hurtful or jealousy crossed your path. Whatever it is closing our hearts and leaving them shut is hurtful to us and not anyone else. That person on Facebook has no idea what happened, so you haven’t hurt them. Good on them for showing up and making a good point or posting a great photo. Yet, for years I was afraid to show up and allow my true self to be …

What is your story? Credit: rafaelsoares/Flickr/Creative Commons

Changing your story

We all have a story to tell and often people read our story before we actually get to tell it. I have learned that we often give people evidence about ourselves by our words and actions. My insecurities have spoken for themselves and my perception of myself and life has shone through. Literally, I have handed over my story to others by the way I talk about myself, present myself and perceive life. In a matter of moments, people will take what I present and form an opinion of me. We are an open book to this world. So the question is what story am I telling? Is it one of hardship, struggle and pain, a perpetual victim-hood that never ends or is it one of a victor — a person who is overcoming each and everyday? And if it isn’t the latter, do I want to change my story? Our struggles, our pain, our disharmony with life, circumstances and people are opportunities for growth. They provide the platform to dive into the depths of …

Credit: Ruby Babson/Flickr/Creative Commons

Forgive for your heart’s sake

Español: Perdóname por el bien de tu corazón When Jesus spoke on forgiveness He was very clear on one thing: if we don’t forgive those who offend us, God would not forgive us. 14 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (Matthew 6:14-15 NASV) I sometimes wonder if we struggle to forgive ourselves for things that we have done in the past, that it is a sign of spiritual blockages caused by our unwillingness to forgive. These blockages hinder us from fully experiencing God’s forgiveness. But an article on John Hopkins Medicine, Forgiveness: Your Health depends on It, provides one more reason to forgive. We need to do it for the sake of our physical health. Like many of God’s commandments, such as circumcision that improves a man’s health, the need to forgive is another section in God’s user’s manual on proper operation of the human body. According to the John Hopkins’ article, …