The folks that forgive here on Earth
have treasures of heavenly worth.
For as Christ did forgive
on the Cross, they might live.
In His death, He proclaimed the new birth!
And this, my dear friends is why the Cross, Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection is an offense to the non-believer.
They refuse to acknowledge sin, and cannot grasp the Christian concept of forgiveness: Because He forgave us, we too must forgive, and in so doing become more like Christ.
It was in Antioch, Syria they were first called Christians. It was meant as a derogatory term, but the believers were it proudly, and it took. It survived through the early persecutions through love and forgiveness. Many were martyred for their beliefs, but through their testimonies the Church grew stronger.
The times of persecutions have returned. There are now more people martyred yearly then at any time in history. We are seeing it in so many ways. Yet, true Christians forgive. We have been given many examples of true Christian forgiveness. Let me mention just two:
On October 2, 2006, a shooting occurred at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in the Old Order Amish community of Nickel Mines, a village in Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Gunman Charles Carl Roberts IV took hostages and shot ten girls (aged 6–13), killing five, and wounded the rest, some very severely, before committing suicide in the schoolhouse. It received worldwide attention, and press and TV reporters descended on the small community. The Amish responded like they always do, mostly silence. The wife of the murderer was invited and went to the funeral of at least one of the girls. The Amish message was consistent, forgive and choose to not remember the offense. To that effect the one room schoolhouse was torn down, the privys and the fence removed and the ground plowed. A week later there was no indication there ever was a schoolhouse there. Another schoolhouse was built nearby. This act of forgiveness was broadcast over the whole world. It even reached the Kurds of Iraq. A pastor, a couple of Amish believers and a Christian psycho therapist were invited to Iraq to speak with the Governor and some doctors about this concept of forgiveness. They were then invited to teach about the healing effect of forgiveness to a multitude of health care professionals. Their message was given, and accepted by the Kurds. Only in Christ can we find forgiveness and be able to forgive. The Kurdish doctors accepted their message with awe, this forgiveness is unknown in Islam.
At the bond hearing June 17, 2015 of Dylann Roof, the murderer of 9 in Emanuel AME Church in Charleston S.C. something very unusual occurred. One after another of the family members of the victims stood up and proclaimed their deep sorrow for what had happened, but they forgave him in Christ, prayed for his soul and asked him to repent and turn to Christ. This was Christian living in action.
No such forgiveness exists among the secular people, nor can it be found in any other religion, especially not in Islam. They still have not got over the loss of Spain. Yet the Christian message of forgiveness has survived nearly two thousand years, from Christ’s words on the Cross “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” to Stephens exclamation “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” when he was stoned to death as the first Martyr. This message will be victorious even in the coming battle.