Walter was an old time preacher. He was serious and rarely broke a smile. Yet he was warmhearted and had never hurt anyone in his life. He simply felt an urgency to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Faithfully he attended the services at New Rock Gospel church in Harlem. There he assisted the Pastor, preaching and teaching on a regular basis. He also volunteered in the cleaning of the church.
It was Sunday evening and Walter was returning home from service when he saw the neighborhood gang at their usual spot. He knew about their illegal activities and its ill effect on the community. This time he was determined to make a difference. He came right up to them and began to preach. He reminded them of the love of Christ, how Jesus had died for them and that they could choose a better life, if only they could surrender to our Lord and Savior.
Nothing had prepared him for what would follow. The leader got in his face and ordered him to leave. His lieutenant did one worst and gave him a good shove. This was repeated by another shove and many more from different members of the gang. Soon Walter was on the ground being kicked. What stopped them was the oozing of blood. Now the leader noticed Walter was trying to say something. He got close enough to hear Walter’s weakened voice. What he heard would shock him. “Father forgive them.” Sirens were heard in the distance and the gang dispersed. Walter was rushed to the hospital.
Several weeks later, fully recovered and rather rejuvenated Walter came walking through the doors of New Rock Gospel church in Harlem. He was excited and ready to testify how God had preserved his life. Then he saw him and the young man saw Walter. The gang leader, Tim, had given his life to Christ, while Walter lay recovering in the Hospital. Quite cowardly Tim came up to Walter with Just two words, “forgive me.” Walter responded, “You are already forgiven.”
The bible relays the story of Stephen and how he was able to show the love of Christ, while he was stoned to death. His last words were “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”(Acts 7:60) How many of us can be Christ like and forgive those who persecute us and even cause us harm? It is essential in our Christian walk to maintain a spirit of forgiveness and mercy. It is this expression of Love that can bring great change in the lives of those around us.
A few Verses to consider on Forgiveness
Bibleaid articles on forgiveness
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven
“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
More verses on forgiveness