Forgiving When It Hurts

Debbie and Del Braaksma

READ : Matthew 18:21-22

Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. (v. 22)

Although John was emotionally, spiritually, and physically spent as he arrived home, even more was asked of him! The city of Yei had just been liberated from government control, and ten thousand soldiers captured as POWs were crammed into a local school. Deprived of food, they were dying at the rate of six per day.

A Catholic priest secured relief food and asked John to assist in its distribution. John was initially reluctant—how repugnant to assist soldiers of the army which was exterminating his friends in Juba and had attempted to kill him! However, as this passage came to mind John realized that God was calling him to forgive and minister to those who had caused him such pain. For the next two weeks these two Christian ministers single-handedly carried out a sacrificial ministry of mercy by feeding ten thousand prisoners whom everyone else refused to help.

John now has a powerful impact as he does training in trauma healing, human rights, and reconciliation. He has “walked the talk” as with God’s help he faced situations of torture and danger. But what is most miraculous is how John has learned to forgive even his enemies.


Lord, thank you for the forgiveness you have offered to us through Christ, and equip us for a lifestyle of forgiveness and reconciliation. Amen.