Josprel's Articles of Faith - A Superlative Forgiveness

Writer Author  Josprel (Joseph Perrello)
Christian Column : Forgiveness  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer Matthew 6:5-15

A gang of skinheads beat to death a teenaged exchange student from an Eastern country. The parents came to claim his body; as they descended from the plane, paparazzi mobbed them.

“You must hate those who murdered your son,” one commented.

“No, as Christians we forgive them,” they replied. They demonstrated a superlative forgiveness.

Some demonstrate non-forgiveness, as was the case of a Christian woman who claimed her in-laws cheated her out of her husband’s veteran’s insurance. After he died in a veteran’s hospital they manipulated the veterans insurance agency into assigning them the insurance rightfully belonging to the widow and her young son.

“That was a great injustice,” I noted, “but you must forgive them.”

“I do; but I’ll never forget what they did!”

It’s been observed that forgiveness without forgetting is like vultures feeding on a dead carcass. It contaminates our prayers. If we want God to answer our prayers, we must forgive. Jesus coupled God’s forgiveness to our forgiveness of others. Jesus taught, “This then is how you should pray . . . Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us . . .” From among the six petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus expanded only on forgiveness, assigning it top priority. “If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in Heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done” (Matt. 6:14-15).

Webster’s definition of forgiveness: “Giving up all claim to requital for an offense and giving up resentment on account of the offense.” C.S. Lewis observed, “We all say that forgiveness is a wonderful thing, until we have something to forgive.”

Forgiveness is a three-phase process. First Jesus admonishes us, “So watch what you do! If your brother sins, rebuke him … if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times a day, and each time he comes to you saying, ‘I repent’, you must forgive him.’ The apostles said . . . ‘Increase our faith’” (Luke 17:3-5).

The “So watch what you do!” admonition is noteworthy. We must forgive while probing ourselves for where we may require forgiveness in a matter. A cartoon I once read showed a boy crying because no one would play with him. His mother asked, “What did you do?” She learned he made such a nuisance of himself that he spoiled the fun of the other children; they boycotted him from their games. Jesus asks us to check our conduct. We may have done something that deserves forgiveness and correction when problems arise between ourselves and others.

The second phase in forgiveness also is found in Luke 17:3: “If your brother sins, rebuke him.” In this passage, the word “rebuke” also may be rendered, “admonish.” Admonish means pointing out what needs correcting in another person. Before admonishing others, we must permit God to admonish us.

As a child, a woman was abused by her father. She hated him, until she accepted Jesus, afterward praying Christ would lead her father to ask her forgiveness. Eventually, the man was hospitalized. When she visited him, Christ admonished, “Ask him to forgive your hatred.”

After an inner struggle, she confessed her feelings, asking her father’s forgiveness. When he tearfully asked her forgiveness, father and daughter were reconciled.

The third phase in forgiveness is the restoration of a brotherly harmony. Forgiveness endeavors to restore an erring person to harmony with the offended one. Joseph is the quintessential example of this phase of forgiveness. After his brothers sold him into slavery, Joseph was brought to Egypt where he ascended to a position of authority next to Pharaoh. When seeing his brothers in Egypt to purchase food during a great famine, Joseph displayed a forgiving spirit toward them.

It was Brooker T. Washington, the renowned scientist who said, “I will not permit any man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.”

How astute! An unforgiving spirit may or may not hurt the other person, but it is certain to degrade our own souls. A neighbor installed solar panels on his roof to capture the sun’s energy, thus converting it to electricity. He used it to heat his enclosed swimming pool so his family could swim during winters.

I inquired, “On overcast days is no electricity is generated?”

“No, the panels draw energy from the sun even on those days. Only I can prevent the panels from generating energy by closing the shutters over them.”

As I think back on that incident, it occurs to me that only we can shut down God’s panels of forgiveness to us by not forgiving others.

Editor's Comment:

About the Writer Author
State: New York
Country: United States
Profile:  Click here! has been given permission to use all materials and content found on this website. All contents of this Website are subject to Copyright protection. Please contact the Christian Writer by email for permission to use their work in any manner.

Most Recent From This Writer

Inspired Still - Designs by LaVellaK

Design Challenged? No worries! Among many design services I offer, I'll gladly design hats, t-shirts and more for you or your organized Special Event. Email me at for details!

Photgraphy & Design by LaVella Kraft


Make personalized gifts at Zazzle.

Select Article or Story