From Right from the Heart by Bryant Wright
“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others.” – Matthew 6:14 MSG
In the spring of 1981, both Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II were shot and seriously wounded in assassination attempts. Each survived, and both the president and the pope made it a priority to forgive the very people who had tried to kill them. Ronald Reagan said, “I realized I couldn’t ask for God’s help while at the same time I felt hatred for the mixed up young man who had shot me. Isn’t that the meaning of the lost sheep? We’re all God’s children and therefore, equally beloved by Him. I began to pray for his soul and that he would find his way back into the fold.”
Pope John Paul II’s forgiveness was even more dramatic. I can still see those amazing pictures, on the cover of Time, of Pope John Paul II visiting the man who tried to kill him and in his prison cell—sitting face-to-face, forgiving him.
These are not normal responses when someone tries to kill you. Where did these great men learn such actions? From Jesus! This ability and motivation to forgive under those circumstances could only come from one source—the One who said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NLT).
If Jesus can provide these leaders with the ability to forgive their assassins, don’t you think He can give you the power to forgive those who have mistreated you?
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