Monday, December 5, 2016

The Flower of Forgiveness

As a young teenager, I heard Richard Wurmbrand speak at a church in my home town. Wurmbrand was a pastor who had been incarcerated in a Romanian Communist prison for 14 years during the 1950’s and early 60’s. He underwent unimaginable torture and depravation during those years for his faith in Jesus. He was so broken in his mind and body that he was reduced to two realities – he knew there was a God and love was a better way. Everything else had been stripped away.

When he was released from prison and began his journey to the West to inform the world of the horrors of Communism, he stopped by the cemetery where the military officer was buried who had ordered him to prison and torture 14 years earlier. While standing over the grave of the man who subjected him to so many years of horror, Wurmbrand bent down and placed a single flower on the man’s grave. The flower was a personal tribute to the power of God’s love and the ability to forgive the perpetrators of the most terrible forms of human abuse.

This morning, as I read the story of Richard Wurmbrand, I heard the Lord ask, “On whose memory are you willing to leave a flower of forgiveness?” One of the worst forms of torture is the kind that takes place outside the confines of an actual prison by those who try to carry something they need to release. Forgiveness is giving up our right to see our offender punished. Only forgiveness can open that prison door.                                                                                                                              

Today, make the choice to place a flower of forgiveness on the memory of your worst enemy. You will walk away from that emotional graveyard a free person with a testimony that will reveal God’s love and the truth that love is truly a better way.

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