Forgiveness

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How easy it is to forgive people wrong you or offends you? No, it isn't easy! Before I (Sal) tell my personal testimony on how I’m learning how forgive people-I would like to share a sad story of how I couldn't forgive.

Battle Creek Elementary School: "Remember the Years"

It all started back in Battle Creek Elementary School in St. Paul. I was somewhat friends with this boy, who I will call “Bob”. I remember I had many friends, but in different ways: close, somewhat, acquaintenance. I personally don’t want to really “categorize” the levels of my friendships, but I just want to show close how “Bob” was to me in this story. I don’t remember any exact “event” with Bob, but I remember he was in my grade since 3rd or 4th. We as a grade or school did many typical elementary school activities: tag in the front yard before school started, chat with one another in lunch room, recess time-played all sorts of “team” sports (kickball in the “black-top”, 4 squares, king of the mountain-snow, flag-football, softball/baseball, etc…) by having captains (athletes of the class) pick their players 1 by 1 (best to worst in that sequence), class as a whole play a game of 7-Up (bow our heads down in our desks with our thumbs up), walking in single file lines where ever we go as a class, and looking forward to be a street patrol-kid. I did street patrol during 5th grade-only as a sub to take back the morning kindergardners back home.

Battle Creek Middle School: "Getting into Trouble"

I wasn’t-unfortunately-not able to do this in 6th grade because I transferred to Battle Creek Middle School (behind my townhome in the backyard). In fact, I was in the first class to start this new 6th grade program in this “new” middle school in 1989 (?)-along with Bob! As I look back at this, the advantages of this was: meeting others from other elementary school earlier than many-compared to going in 7th grade, growing-up “maturely” (somewhat) a little quicker as you are surrounded by 7th and 8th graders, etc… The disadvantages from my personal perspective: getting away from your friends you made back in elementary school, growing up quicker “maturely” too fast, and being surrounded by smoking and drugs too early. For example, I remember I got in trouble for carrying bullets in school-in fact w/Bob. I wasn’t strong will enough to say “no” to Bob to play with some bullets he gave me with some others. I don’t remember where he found them, but we got together and started to throw (I don’t remember if I did join them) these bullets around the gym. We were so ignorant to know the fact that these bullets could somehow explode and injure or kill someone nearby. Some teacher saw us doing this and we all got suspended for the rest of the school day. As, I’m writing this-I’m laughing at how “immature” I was. But, also after these recent “shootings” , I look back (I have earlier too) and realize that it was a serious matter where I could’ve done something that I would’ve regretted. I remember coming home crying to my mom and was afraid the same time of what my parents would do. Bob and I would continue to hangout doing some “crazy things” that I would willingly refuse if it was too serious (eg. smoke, steal hood ornaments from “nice” luxury cars).

"Going Our Separate Ways"

When 7th grade came where my old friends from Battle Creek Elementary School started to join our class, Bob and I started to go on our own paths. I would hang out with a more “not to popular” crowd that would focus more on our studies and keep out of trouble.. Bob, who already hanged out with a more “rowdy” crowd in 6th grade, would continue with his friendship and “making-trouble” with them. I can’t specifically point what Bob did, but he and his friends would tease me for some reason. I just remember, our friendship slowly-quickly went down the drain from 7th grade on.

Harding Senior High School-“Unforgiving”

As we went to high school, Bob and I matured a little more in different ways. We still didn’t talk to each other as we were still in new different cliques-group of friends. I was focussing on my studies and setting my goals for college. Bob started to get more serious in his school work and less in trouble from 9th grade and on. From my perception, I think Bob started to look for more “positive” friends. I didn’t see him hanging out with his old friends back in middle school. I remember in Spanish class, Bob actually talked to me, which was the first time since we were close back in Middle School. Being too prideful or “unforgiving” for what he used to do with his old “buddies”, I would kind of shun him away. After several attempts from Bob to befriend me, he gave-up and we continued to stay in our separate paths/ways. I was searching for my identity through my cultural backgound, which I started to hangout with more Asians. That is probably another reason why I didn’t want to befriend Bob too-(see racism testimony). I had so much anger and resentment from the past, which I didn’t have a soft enough heart to befriend Bob or just Caucasian-White people (as my racism testimony explains).

“Fatal Car Accident”

It was a typical school day my junior-11th grade-year! I then somewhat heard my classmates talking about a death in our class in the school hallways. I couldn’t really hear who it was until it was announced in homeroom. My teacher or someone sadly announce the unfortunate car accident Bob got into. He was driving to Colorado to visit his mom, who was divorce and living away from his dad. It was late at night and Bob fell asleep in the wheel and had a head-on-collision with a semi-truck. I can still remember when I first heard this unexpected sad news. My mouth dropped, my eyes grew bigger, and tears started to water my eyes. I was trying to hold it in and I would finally let it all out the day of his funeral-especially when I missed a ride to the memorial-funeral service.

“Too late!”

I knew it was too late to befriend Bob as he was gone-completely off the face of the earth. When I came to a personal relationship with God my first year at UMM I became a new person. It would be a while later in my walk with Christ that I realised I had some forgiving to do from my past-especially my situation with Bob. I can now say, I forgive Bob for everything he did that hurted me and I ask God to forgive me for everything I did that hurtted a hurting Bob. You see, Bob was already hurting inside as he grew up with divorce parents. Fortunately, I did have both my mom and dad despite the fighting that went on between the two-like any other 2 parent household family. I didn’t really understood or see this blessing back then because I was too self-centered or too focus on “me” (my feelings). Many of us have been hurt or been offended, which we take it on others. When others asked me to forgive them when I hurted them, I wouldn’t forgive Bob, like in Matthew 18….

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[6] 23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[7] was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[8] He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. 29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

Excerpts from Bible Search

It’s now too late to forgive Bob in person since he died, which I regret to this day and forever until the day I die. But, instead of letting my head down, I can raise my head up and learn from this “mistake” I made back then. It may be too late with Bob, but it’s never will be too late with anyone God puts in my path now and for you-the reader of this!

Go!…and make amends-reconcile with anyone out there that God layed in your heart to "forgive" when YOU were reading this-before it's too late! Don't end up doing what I did!

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."-Matthew 6

Now can you see that forgiving is hard, but it is easy if you ask God to help you. I’ve realize that it’s easier to continue to forgive people as you grow closer with Him! I want to encourage you to search the Bible and look for more stories like the one above on “forgiveness” or anything that you struggle with in life. I’m now 26 years old, and I still don’t have this thing called “life” in perfect order. However, as I grow in my personal relationship with our Creator, life gets more easier to handle if you just give it to Him-Father and son relationship team!

It’s still hard to look back at what I didn’t do or could’ve done with my situation with Bob. The best thing I can do is leave this in God’s hands and have Him speak to you and others who read this story. I pray that God will touch you-the reader-as He’s touched me and continues to do so in different life issues.

Hurt by someone?

We all have been hurt by someone in variety of ways: abuse-physical, emotional, spiritual, etc...However, Jesus was physically beaten (as was descripted in "The Passion", and He even asked His Father "to forgive them for they do not know what they do". Yes, people who has hurt you really "do not know what they do". We ourselves has hurt people-sometimes not admittedly we do! Remember what Jesus said, "forgive those as I have forgive you"...

...more on offenses

Turning A City

As a resident of Morris, I feel very blessed to live in this small rural city in West Central Area of Minnesota. Especially with the recent "hoopla" of our Morris Area High School heading to the state tournament this Wednesday (3.23.04)! We are blessed to live in a very peaceful community compared to the BIG "city-life". Yes, we do have our problems, but we have so much to be thankful for too! I read a verse on asking God to forgive the sins of a city, which I would like to do...

Scripture Verse(s): Daniel 9:16

"Heavenly Father, forgive the sins of Morris for the people here sometimes do no know what they do. As a child/children of yours, please forgive the sins of my fellow brethren and I in this city of: jealousy amongst each churches, hardened heart of being offended by one another, or wrong desires to compete for sheeps. Lord you are the true Shepherd and we are all your sheep-one in Christ! Help us O'Lord to get over our "problems" that divide us as your famiy in Christ, so we can work together as one using the gifts, talents, etc.. that you each blessed each church congregation with. Open our eyes to what we need to repent and set aside our differences that's preventing us to see our commonality through your Son-Jesus Christ! Show us O'Lord how we can utilize what you've blessed us with, so we can unite together at times throughout the year (e.g. Picnic in the Park, Stevens County Fair Sunday Community Church Service, National Day of Prayer, See You At the Pole, or our one time event Gospel Explosion 99') in building your Kingdom-NOT ours! We ask all this in Jesus' name....Amen!

Turning A Nation

As a citizen of the U.S.A., I feel very blessed to live in a beautiful nation as ours. We have so much to be thankful if we just look how fortunate we are when you compare our economic, social, or even spiritual freedom or status. Yeah, we do have some problems and issues ourselves. However, we got it "good" compared to what others have to experiences in this world. In 9-11, we as a nation somewhat started to realize what our sins are and need of repentance...

"If you, O LORD , kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness... O Israel, put your hope in the LORD , for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. 8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins."-Psalm 130

...more on forgivness

A reason to live

"Powerful video compiled with winning souls in mind and touches the heart of those that think they have to be perfect before they're forgiven."

Seeking Revenge

"Don't seek revenge because revenge belongs to the Lord" or "Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord."-Romans 12:19

I just watched the movie "Monte Christo", which is fiction; however, the plot is so good and can be true! However, the idea comes from a true story, cool huh...

"Dumas got the idea for The Count of Monte Cristo from a true story, which he found in a memoir written by a man named Jacques Peuchet. Peuchet related the story of a shoemaker named Pierre Picaud, who was living in Paris in 1807. Picaud was engaged to marry a rich woman, but four jealous friends falsely accused him of being a spy for England. He was imprisoned for seven years. During his imprisonment a dying fellow prisoner bequeathed him a treasure hidden in Milan. When Picaud was released in 1814, he took possession of the treasure, returned under another name to Paris and spent ten years plotting his successful revenge against his former friends."-from Wikipedia

" 'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. -Leviticus 19:18

"It's like a poison, it can eat you away"-Spiderman


Reccomended Resources

NATION

Movies

  • Bench warmers, a PG-13 (caution w/some very unethical/immoral jokes) movie about forgiving your "enemies"/"bullies"

  • Saw this with Jeff, Brett, and Cory on Tuesday, December 5th of 2006
  • Spy Kids, family movie starring Sylvester Stalone, Antonio Banderas, etc..

  • *a good moral ending about forgiving one another and forgive yourself (see all the way to the end-8/17/04)
  • Spider man 3

  • *just saw this movie earlier this evening (Friday, November 9th of 2007) with some friends (Paul J and Eric B.)
    Spiderman 3 - Trailer, from youtube.com
    Spider-Man 3: Peter and Aunt May's Talk about Forgiveness

    " Here it is -- the meaningful talk about forgiveness! "...
    "You start with the hardest thing, which is forgiving yourself..."

    GLOBAL

    Music

    -Videos
    "Forgive Me" by Rebecca St. James feat. Barlow Girl

    Testimonies

    "Forgiving the Nameless"

    "This short film centers on one young girl's attempt to cope with the hatred she feels toward a nameless German soldier who killed her father in battle during World War II."
    link
    Free at Last

    Missionary in Japan preaches a sermon that includes a testimony about how God helped him get rid of a huge root of bitterness, allowing him to finally forgive. Forgiveness is still difficult, it always will be. This sermon includes a key for being able to forgive

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