Joel Plantinga

Read: Genesis 45:1-15

And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (v. 5)

How would you feel if the man who murdered your only son moved next door to you? Ask Mary Johnson, a woman in Minneapolis whose son, Laramiun, was killed by Oshea Israel. While her son’s killer was serving time in prison, Mary eventually reached out to him and offered not only forgiveness to Oshea, but also began to help him find purpose in his own life. She helped Oshea find a new apartment and actually became his friend, encouraging and loving the man who killed her only son. Her son’s death will always be painful, but she’s found a way to redeem that pain.

What Mary did may seem outrageous to us but in reality is a great representation of the forgiveness of God, who reconciled us to himself through the death of his only Son. Once we were God’s enemies, now we are his friends because God reached out to us with amazing love and mercy.

Faith walks when we can extend forgiveness to people who have hurt us. We don’t forgive because we feel like it, but simply because God did that for us and commands us to do the same. The ability to forgive others frees us and offers the recipient great hope and peace. More than that, it communicates a message of life to a world paralyzed by resentment. —Joel Plantinga

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your forgiveness. Help us to remember what you forgave us of so we can be forgiving of others. Amen.