Forgiveness Sermon Illustrations

Forgiveness Sermon Illustrations

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A Greenlander's Revenge

The first missionaries to Greenland had a very difficult task, as for a long time the people refused to listen to their message. But they did not work entirely without success as the following story shows:

Among the Greenlanders it was deemed a sacred duty to revenge sooner or later the murder of a father. A son about fourteen years of age was present when his father was killed. He grew up to manhood and became an active fisherman, and after a few years had passed away he resolved to seek the life of the person who had slain his father.

To secure his object he journeyed a long distance, and came at last to where the missionaries lived. As he listened to their preaching a desire rose in his mind to know more about the Lord of Heaven and earth. In the course of their instruction they told him it was the command of God that he should do no murder, but rather that he should forgive his enemies. He looked at them in silence, and went away in anger and for several days kept away from their house, while he was planning with his friends the best way to effect the in­tended act of revenge.

He was seen walking up and down the shore as though in great distress of mind, and when he came again to the mission house, he said, "I never felt so before. I will forgive him, and I will not forgive him. I have two hearts which speak different things."

He was told of the Saviour who forgave His enemies as He hung on the Cross. "But He was better than we are," was the reply of the Greenlander.

The death of Stephen was then read to him, when he replied, "Good teacher, my heart is so moved. I will—but give me still a little time: when I have brought the other heart to silence, and am quite changed, I will come again." He did come again; it was with a peaceful look: "Now I am happy," he said, "I hate no more; I have forgiven."

On this occasion a great many people stood around. Before them all he de­clared his faith in Christ, and turning to the Christians, said, "Receive me now as a believer."

He then sent his enemy this message, "I am now become a believer, and you have nothing to fear." He even invited him to his abode, received him in a friendly manner, and sent him home in safety.

The convert was invited to return the visit. He went alone and unarmed. On his return he had not gone far when he saw water in his boat. He paddled quickly to the shore and found that his enemy had cut a hole in the bottom. When he related this to the missionaries he said with a smile, "He is still afraid I shall slay him for my father's death, and has done this for that reason, but I will not harm him. I have forgiven him!"—Selected.


Pastor Chen's Reward

Pastor Chen of Hwoshan tells the following: During the time that I was commissioned by the county government as a ward magistrate there was a vagrant named Li K'ai-fan who forcibly seized a small piece of ground belonging to me, for a vegetable garden for himself. I prayed about the affair for three days, after which the Holy Spirit led me to see that I should have no quarrels with worldly people, so I presented him with the parcel of ground. I took the deed to this property to his house and in the presence of witnesses made it over to him in perpetuity. Later the Reds occupied our district working secretly, and Li was made Commander­in-Chief of the surrounding countryside. All the local officials who did not make their escape were to be killed, and I, of course, was no exception. Commander Li gave secret orders that I was not to be molested and anyone passing my house was to go quietly so as not to alarm me as I was a righteous man. If I had gone to law when he seized my land it is certain that not only I but my whole family would have perished. I, being enabled to have the mind of Christ, was spared the calamity that would have resulted from seeking vengeance.—Selected.


Feeding Everybody

During the last war a Polish woman saw the Quakers feeding the starving on both sides of the conflict. Astonished by such Christian philanthropy, she said to one of them: "You are feeding everybody, aren't you? Poles, Russians, Germans—everybody, friend and foe? Well, I knew there ought to be people like that in the world, but I didn't know that there actually were."The Chaplain.


A Bishop's Example

It is written in the stirring annals of the Melanesian Mission of a native boy whom Bishop John Selwyn had in Braining at Norfolk Island. He had been brought from one of the most barbarous of the South Sea peoples, and did not promise particularly well. One day Bishop Selwyn had occasion to rebuke him for his stubborn and refractory behavior. The boy instantly flew into a passion and struck the Bishop a cruel blow in the face. It was an unheard-of incident, and all who saw it stood aghast. The Bishop said nothing, but turned and walked quietly away. The conduct of the lad continued to be most recalcitrant, and he was at last returned to his own island as incorrigible. There he soon relapsed into all the debasements of a savage and cannibal people.

Many years afterward a missionary on that island was summoned post haste to visit a sick man. It proved to be Dr. Selwyn's old student. He was dying and desired Christian baptism. The missionary asked him by what name he would like to be known. "Call me John Selwyn," the dying man replied, "because he taught me what Christ was like when I struck him."—courtesy Moody Monthly.


No Retaliation

Haile Selassie has issued this appeal to his soldiers: "I charge you solemnly to receive kindly and protect those Italians who may surrender to you without arms, and not to retaliate with the cruelty which they inflicted upon our people, but to show yourselves to be honorable, humane soldiers."—Sunday School Times.


On Revenge

When one has done us a wrong we are tempted to feel that we must have revenge upon him else justice will not be done. However, this is not the case. The Lord has said, "Vengeance is Mine; I will repay." If one has actually wronged us we should pray for him as we are commanded to do. His need is great and his punishment will be great if he has this and other sins of which he has not repented.

And remember that whatever ill you may have suffered at his hands, you are far better off than he, for you have had your evil out of the transaction and his is yet to come. It is far better to have been wronged than to have done the wrong. Ask the Lord to put in your heart a real pity for the wrongdoer, then pray for himGospel Gleaners.

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