Why should I forgive my friend?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: A friend has hurt me deeply and told lies about me and while I know I should forgive them, I simply cannot; in fact, I want to retaliate. Why shouldn’t I defend myself? – F.A.
A: Many people are accused of wrongdoing when there’s no truth to it whatsoever; some eventually experience the relief of having the accusations proven false. But often suspicion still lingers in some minds because of the thoughts deposited in the mind. It can damage someone’s reputation regardless. Such an experience demonstrates the dangerous power of a lying tongue. When it happens to us, the temptation is to strike back and hurt the person who hurt us, perhaps by telling lies about them. Doing so only damages a person’s credibility and makes people even more suspicious.
Anger and bitterness end up hurting us. Whenever a situation causes anger to rise up, the Bible tells us to turn it over to Christ. He will teach us to set aside our own sin and will enable us to have the spirit of forgiveness toward the one who has hurt us. It isn’t easy because we still operate in the flesh, but the Spirit of God is operational in those who belong to Him and He will empower us to do what only the Spirit of God can do in our lives if we submit our will to Him.
The flesh wants to retaliate. We can reason within ourselves to justify our feelings, but we must remember that Jesus was falsely accused of sin. We know that He was, and is, a Man without sin, but willingly died for the sin of the world. Rather than strike back at His accusers, He demonstrated forgiveness. The Bible tells us that we should strive to be more like Christ.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
©2023 Billy Graham Literary Trust. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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