Walking the second mile of forgiveness wasn’t easy.
Gene’s pleasures were few when he was a child. His father was an alcoholic, and his parents divorced when he was five. Later, his mother remarried, but this man, like Gene’s father, was also an alcoholic. His life centered around drinking. The family lived far out in the country, isolated from others, in a home without electricity. Their only source of water came from a small stream.
The stepfather was a logger, and Gene often helped with cutting and hauling trees instead of attending school. After working all day, Gene sat in their old truck while his stepfather spent hours in a tavern. Life consisted of much work, physical and emotional abuse, and little pleasure for Gene.
Finally, in his teens, when he could take the abuse no longer, Gene ran away. He served in the navy and later became the supervisor of a small company. He enjoyed the work and earned a good living.
Then one day, Gene received a letter from his mother, telling him his stepfather was in failing health and that she was having problems taking care of him. Although she didn’t ask for help, Gene realized his mother needed him. He quit his job and returned to help care for the man who had abused him for many years.
Gene forgave his stepfather even though he never asked for forgiveness. He walked the second mile.
Steven also forgave. As he lay dying from being stoned, he prayed, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” God’s love so permeated Steven that, even as death neared, he was more concerned about others than himself.
Many of us have known people who mistreated us. We may think it is impossible to forgive them, but with God, all things are possible.
Sowing our life’s field with seeds of unforgiveness will only bring a harvest of resentment, bitterness, and frustration. But yielding to the leading of God’s Spirit to forgive will produce a bountiful crop of peace and inner joy.
Is there someone you need to forgive? How can you walk the second mile and do it?
(photo courtesy of pixabay.com.)
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