Louis Zamperini was on a WWII reconnaissance run when his plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean. He was captured and held as a POW, enduring two years of verbal and physical torture. When he returned home at the end of the war, Mr. Zamperini continued to suffer regular nightmares and felt his life spinning out of control. Until he heard Billy Graham deliver a message about forgiveness. Mr. Zamperini found the guards who had haunted him and chose to fogive them. He hasn’t had a nightmare since.
“The hardest thing in life is to forgive.” Mr. Zamperini said. “But healing, real healing, only comes from forgiveness.” See more of Louis Zamperini’s inspiring story of the power of forgiveness here.
Forgiveness is deciding that someone who has wronged you doesn’t have to pay.When we choose to forgive others, it’s a response to the great love and forgiveness God has shown us. Forgiveness means letting go of what someone did to us in order to restore the relationship.
But forgiveness isn’t always a simple exchange. What if the person never apologizes? Forgive anyway. What if the person does it again? Forgive again. What if the person never changes? Keep on forgiving. By controlling how you respond and making an alternate choice to forgive, you can delete the impact of what that person did to you.
The monthly memory verse is:“Forgive the things you are holding against one another. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you,” Colossians 3:13, NIrV. Through God’s forgiveness, we are inspired to love, serve, and give to others. His forgiveness changes our eternity. And our forgiveness of others can impact their futures.
In Week One’s Bible story, Jesus told a story about a son who sinned against his father (Luke 15:11-20). He owned what he did was wrong and returned home to seek his father’s forgiveness. Our Bottom Line is: Everyone needs to be forgiven, even me.
In Week Two’s Bible story, the older brother chose not to forgive the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:21-32). He missed out on a party and also missed out on rebuilding a relationship with his brother. Our Bottom Line is: When you don’t forgive, you miss out.
In Week Three’s Bible story, Peter thought he was doing well to forgive someone seven times (Matthew 18:21-35). Jesus raised the stakes when He said we should forgive others even more. Our Bottom Line is: Since God forgave you, you should forgive others.
In Week Four’s Bible story, Jesus teaches about judging with an example of someone who needs to focus on his own problems before pointing out his friend’s. (Matthew 7:1-5). Our Bottom Line is: Be careful not to judge others, because you’ve been wrong too.
In Week Five’s Bible story, Zacchaeus was a tax collector who stole money from people (Luke 19:1-10). Jesus offered him forgiveness, which changed Zacchaeus’ outlook on life. Our Bottom Line is: When people are forgiven, it can change them.
By Jessica McKee ©2013 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.