Thursday, June 17, 2021

I Choose to Forgive

"If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15

In February 1993, the only son of Mary Johnson was fatally shot by 16 year old Oshea Israel. 20 year old Laramiun Byrd was shot in the head after an altercation at a party. Israel had been involved in drugs and gangs, and was tried as an adult. He served prison time for 17 years.

Mary Johnson was just consumed by hatred. She called it a "tsunami" of hatred. I think most of us would just plain understand this. I can't imagine not hating someone who shoots my only son!!! But Mary Johnson stayed in church and it would be 10 long years before she would be able to look at her heart and choose to forgive. Her Pastor asked her to teach a lesson on forgiveness and she heard Jesus say to her, "Mary, pray for him like you are praying for yourself." And she did. Then she heard, "Every time his name comes up, say, 'I choose to forgive." She repented and forgave him with a true forgiveness. She did not know that as she prayed for Oshea, he changed too.

She went to visit him, and they talked. To love your enemy means you have to feel their pain. You have to get to know their story. You have to understand their history. And the more Mary and Oshea talked, the more they got closer. When Oshea was released from prison, Mary threw him a homecoming party. Her friends were there to support him too. Today, they live next door to each other, and share a porch. They go around sharing about the power of forgiveness.

There are many stories about how people are able to rise above their "humanness" and become superhuman. Loving is the only super power that we need. It is creative. It is transforming. It is redemptive. It is freeing. It is healing.

1 comment:

I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy