by John McKain

Receiving and Giving Forgiveness
John McKain
Matthew 18:15-35

Former President Gerald Ford, in his book A Time to Heal, focused on the confusing and tragic twilight of the Nixon presidency. Clearly, Nixon was guilty of a cover-up in the Watergate case, but he refused to admit it. His pride kept him from doing so. If he had been willing to confess his guilt and ask the American people for forgiveness, he would probably have received it.

President Ford then faced a grievous dilemma. Should he let the legal charges run their course and allow Nixon to be indicted and tried? Should he pardon him? If he decided on justice, the process would probably have taken years and would have blotted out everything else in the country until it was over. He therefore decided to pardon the former president, feeling it was best for the nation.

He explained his decision: "America needed recovery, not revenge. The hate had to be drained and the healing begun."

There are times when all of us face the same choice. Will we seek revenge, or will we seek recovery? Will we demand justice or mercy? Will we condemn, or will we pardon? Others may hurt us, wrong us, and offend us. They may lie about us, abuse us, and mistreat us.

When this happens, the natural tendency is to become resentful, bitter, and vengeful. The world is full broken relationships, wounded spirits, and unresolved quarrels. There are multitudes of people who have been hurt and have never forgiven the person who hurt them. Their lives are filled with hatred and unforgiveness.

Hatred is one of the most destructive forces in life. It is like a cancer in the soul. Of all the emotions that tear the personality into shreds, there is none equal to hate. It is poison the body, to the mind and to the soul. It is dangerous, not only because of what it might cause us to do to others but also because of what it does to us. It consumes our time, our thoughts, and our energy. It destroys us ...

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