"The hardest thing"

In the US presidential election of 2000, Senator John McCain lost his momentum and ultimately his party's nomination when someone spread rumors that he had fathered a bi-racial child out of wedlock. Besides its overt racism, the slander was particularly despicable because the child in question was a handicapped orphan that John and his wife Cindy had adopted from Bangladesh.

Seven years later, as her husband was running for president again, a friend asked Cindy what she would do if she encountered the person who had spread the vicious rumor. Would she want to stab him in the back? "No," she answered, "I'd stab him in the front."

Who can blame Cindy McCain for nursing a grudge all those years? She had sacrificially given of herself for her child, only to have that loving act twisted and thrown back in her face.

But here's the thing. We who have received the forgiveness of Christ are obligated to pass that same forgiveness on to others. If we don't, Jesus said we are like a debtor forgiven of "millions of dollars" who demands payment from someone who owes him "a few thousand dollars" (Matthew 18:23-35). A few thousand dollars is a lot of money, but it is much less than what God has forgiven us.

But forgiving others is hard! Actually, it's impossible. On our own, we will continue to do what comes naturally and dream of paying back those who have hurt us. But with the empowering Spirit of Jesus, we can follow the example of Jesus, who in the act of providing forgiveness for the whole world also asked forgiveness for the people who were killing Him (Luke 23:34). Forgiveness is an act of God. If He lives in you, you can and must do it. , Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey

CLICK HERE to visit OurDailyJourney.org