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Jim Henry, Pastor
First Baptist Church
3701 L. B. McLeod Road
Orlando, Florida 32805
Reprinted from Radio Broadcast, "We Believe"
"FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS"
Some years ago a man had a problem with his neighbor. He felt that
the neighbor had hurt him in some way, and he refused to speak to him.
For many years he carried this resentment, this grudge. The man
became seriously ill, and was told by his doctor that he didn't have
long to live. If he had anything that should be settled before he
died, he needed to do it.
The dying man called for his pastor. His pastor asked if everything
was right between him and God. He said it was. He asked: "Is
everything right between you and your fellow man?" The man said,
"Well, yes, except for one man." The minister asked, "What is the
problem?" He said, "I haven't spoken to my neighbor in years. He hurt
me, and as far as I'm concerned I will not have anything to do with
him. I will not forgive him."
The pastor said, "You don't want to go to heaven with that on your
mind and heart. You need to make that right with him. Think about
it, and ask him to come over and forgive you, and you forgive him."
He thought about it for a while, and finally invited his neighbor
over. With trepidation, and yet, seeking forgiveness, his neighbor
came over, pulled up a chair beside the bed. They chatted for a
minute, and then the very ill man said to him, "You know, I've had
something against you for many years. Now, I understand from the
doctor that I don't have long to live. I cannot go into eternity
without being sure that things are right with my fellow man, and I
have been bitter against you. I want to ask you to forgive me."1
The neighbor said, "I sure will, and I'm delighted to forgive you."
Then the sick man raised up on one elbow and said: "But understand
one thing: If I get over this, it's still on!"
Well, that is not forgiveness! And that's not forgetting, and when
Jesus t ...
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