Billy Graham: Why You Should Forgive People Who Hurt You

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Christians should practice forgiveness for those
who have greatly wronged them just as God
has forgiven them, the Rev. Billy Graham says.

When asked a question about family
reconciliation after a father deserted his
children when they were young but was
reaching out to them 30 years later, Graham’s
advice was to forgive, because it will lead to
healing.

“You have carried this burden long enough,”
says Graham, founder of the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association, in his “My Answers” column.

He explains that Jesus calls Christians to forgive
because He “forgave you, (Colossians 3:13).”
And because holding resentment can feel like
an “acid eating away at your minds and hearts.
And they will continue to do so, as long as you
keep them bottled up and don’t seek to forgive your father for what he did.”

Graham acknowledges that while forgiving
such a grave offense can be difficult, it is also
necessary to begin “healing the hurts that have
been with you all these years.”

However, to forgive is not to forget, Graham
continues. “This doesn’t mean you overlook
what your father did or pretend it didn’t
happen — because it did, and what he did was
very wrong.”

Rather, we forgive to free ourselves of the
burden of resentment and pain

Forgiveness isn’t easy, but the best thing
Christians can do is “begin by turning to Christ
for the forgiveness you need for your own
sins. Then ask God to help you forgive your
father in the same way He has forgiven you —
freely and fully, even if he doesn’t deserve it.”

“It won’t happen all at once — but even a card
or a phone call expressing love could be a
start. Yes, he caused you great hurt — but he’s
still your father, and you wouldn’t be here
without him,” Graham adds.

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in
Orange County, California, has also spoken on
the importance of forgiveness, writing in a Daily Devotional this week that Christians should forgive because God has forgiven them,
because resentment is self-torture, and
because we need forgiveness every day

Resentment, Warren writes, is “a self-inflicted
wound.”

“Whenever you’re resentful, it always hurts you
more than the person you’re bitter against. In
fact, while you’re still worrying about
something that happened years ago, the other
person has forgotten about it! Your past is past,
and it can’t hurt you any more unless you hold on to it,” the evangelical pastor continues. Warren adds that if we want the daily gift of
forgiveness, we too need to practice
forgiveness for others.

“We cannot receive what we are unwilling to
give. Do you want to be forgiven? The Bible
says you need to be forgiving,” the evangelical
leader writes.

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