Courage To Forgive
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Courage To Forgive
Stephen A. Peterson
United States Army Specialist Glenn Todd awakened from 12 hours of surgery to learn both of his legs and one hand were blown away from IED. The last thing the young soldier could remember was the order to take cover. As he thought about what had happened to him, he became angry and frightened about what would do with the rest of his life. He thought about the teachers, friends and family members who encouraged him to join the Army. He concluded they did so because he was not a very good in school. He was in trouble much of the time and barely graduated from high school. Under his breath, he began cussing each person responsible for him joining up.
His thoughts then turned to his younger brother who stole then wrecked his car. “The idiot boy never got so much as a scratch! I’ll never forgive him! Never! Never!” He recalled his cousin who died two summers ago from leukemia. In his mind, she was the only person really understood him. She treated him with dignity and respect. His soul was filled with anger and frustration then began to curse God for her death.
He lay in his hospital bed searching for answers he could not find. When all else failed, he made the sign of the cross with his uninjured hand—an act he did not do during the four plus years he had been in the Army. With tears in his eyes and a broken spirit, he prayed:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I do not deserve an audience with You. I’ve wasted my time in
school; shamed my family and parents; stopped going to church to worship You; quit
praying; and just now cursed You. I’m now laying here in this bed with no legs, a
missing hand and no future. I’m really angry at my brother who stole a lot of my stuff
and at those who convinced me to go into the Army. They made these things happen to
me. And I’m angry at You, Lord, because You made these happen to me! The only
thing I can remember is that You said forgive those who’ve hurt or injure you. How can I
do that now? Everybody is against me! I think You’re against me, too! I don’t know
what to do, Lord! I’m so confused! I’m hurting! Please, do something! Help me!”
As he completed his prayer, he felt something fall on his head. He thought it was some of the solution from the IV bag just above his head. Brushing the liquid from his brow, he found it to be red in color. He did not know what to think. He raised his head slightly and came face to face with Jesus Himself. He thought he was dreaming until Jesus spoke.
“No, Glenn, you are not dreaming. I am here with you to answer your prayer.”
Unable to hide or run, Specialist Todd saw Jesus’ head surrounded with a crown of thorns and bleeding. Looking downward, he saw Jesus’ hands fixed to a beam of wood by huge spikes. Though he could not see his entire body, what he could see terrified the young soldier. He could see the suffering and pain on His face and the condition of His body. It appeared that every part of His body was bloodied with pieces of skin hanging and muscle tissue exposed. Specialist Todd became sick at his stomach as he continued to look at the broken body.
At this point, Jesus spoke:
“Glenn, have you stolen property you knew was not yours?
“Yes, Lord, I did.”
“Have you ever disobeyed your parents and people I placed in authority over you?”
“Yes, Lord, I did.”
“Have you ever taken My Father’s or My Name in vain?”
“Yes, You know I have!” he responded embarrassingly. “I’m so sorry!” Then he began to cry.
Jesus, nonetheless, continued the questioning: “Glenn, have you worshipped things other than the Lord your God?”
“Yes! Yes! Lord, I am guilty of all You have said!” as Glenn wept bitterly.
“What you see Glenn is what your sins have done and your unwillingness to forgive those who have sinned against you. Though you have sinned so many times, I forgave you when you came to Me asking for forgiveness. Why can you not forgive others? Even now because you called out My Name, I am here. I have forgiven you even now. So why can you not forgive?”
Specialist Todd was unable to respond to Jesus final question. However, the Specialist realized that though he suffered losses his immortal soul would be the most tragic a loss. He further understood that with Jesus’ unconditional love he had nothing to be worried about.
Specialist Todd, on that day, forgave those who hurt or did him wrong. Today, Chief Executive Officer Todd has become a multi-billionaire. His efforts has provided food for the hungry; clothes for the naked and shelter for many poor and homeless around the world. He learned that God is no myth; forgives you when you ask and has a plan for you. It may not be a money or property but it will be his best for you. Are you ready for His best?
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