The Power of Forgiveness

Andrew McFaul (our son in law) preached on Sunday 5th November as part of the “Living it” series.

The second half of “Living it in Love” from Matthew 5 v 43 – 48 talks about,” love your enemies & pray for those who persecute you.”

A couple of days later I read an inspiring article in a Christian magazine which really illustrated this:

In 1957, two years after her husband and four other missionaries were murdered by Auca tribesmen, Elisabeth Elliot reflected on her experience of reconciliation as, unfathomably, one of her husband’s killers sat playing with her three year old daughter.

“How did this come to be? Only God who made iron swim, who caused the sun to stand still, in whose hand is the breath of every living thing – only this God, who is our God forever and ever, could have done it.” *

Elliot and the other widows allowed the Holy Spirit to enable them to forgive and pursue reconciliation with their husbands’ murderers. As a result, they saw the transformation of a whole people group. In the more than half century since those events, some 80% of the Waodani (Auca) have heard the gospel message, with between 25 and 40% professing Christian faith. +

Wow, the possibilities when we live God’s way! The article shared further about the power of reconciliation and ended with this paragraph:

Just as supernatural forgiveness fuelled transformation through the example of the Auca widows, the world needs to see and experience more believers laying down their rights, willing to love in the midst of conflict, disagreement and loss. This is a physical representation of the truth of the gospel. As believers, we need to tell more stories and be open about our journeys through forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation. It is  the counter-cultural nature of reconciliation that is at once repellent and attractive to the world.

*Elliot, Elisabeth, 1981. Through Gates of Splendour (25th Anniversary Edition), Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, p.257 +Danielle Wilson “Move” The Magazine of Agape

Anne Cook