Do I Have to Forgive and Love Them?

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

July 16, 2023

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Read:

Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

Think:

The year is 1944, during the Nazi occupation of Holland. The Ten Boom family, including an elderly watchmaker, becomes actively involved in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in a secret room of their home. However, their secret is eventually discovered, leading to the arrest and death of the watchmaker and the tragic demise of his daughter Betsie in a Nazi concentration camp. Corrie Ten Boom, the youngest daughter, survives the horrors of Ravensbruck, a brutal death camp, with the sustaining power of her faith in God.

Two years after the war, Corrie speaks at a church in Munich, Germany, where she encounters a former Nazi SS officer. This man, who had been a guard at Ravensbruck, approaches her, expressing remorse and seeking forgiveness as a Christian. Corrie faces an internal struggle as she grapples with the decision to forgive her captor, considering the immense pain and suffering she endured. Despite the battle between her emotions and the knowledge of Scripture's call to forgive, Corrie realizes the necessity of forgiveness and prays for strength to extend it.

As the man offers his hand, Corrie experiences a transformative moment. In a powerful exchange, she feels a current pass from her to him, accompanied by an overwhelming love for this stranger. It is in this realization that Corrie understands forgiveness is not solely reliant on her own ability but on the forgiveness and love of Jesus Christ. She discovers that the healing of the world hinges not on human goodness or forgiveness alone, but on the love and forgiveness bestowed by Jesus himself, who commands us to love our enemies and equips us with the love to do so.

Apply:

Trust God to give you the necessary grace and to equip you to love your enemies. Take the first step and he will walk beside you.

Pray:

God, you never leave me nor forsake me. You give me the grace and strength to love the unlovable. I lean on you as I step into your plan for my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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