by | May 29, 2000 | Forgiveness

“If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” – Luke 17:4

In 1969, Cindy Stevens was brutally murdered in Evansville, Indiana. Her father moved the family from Evansville to a new home near Dawson Springs, Kentucky. Because of a court error, Cindy’s killer was released after seven years behind bars. Paul’s hatred twisted his psyche. ” At that time I wanted to see that man dead,” he said.

In 1978, nine years after the murder, Paul tried something radical. At a religious retreat, he finally grasped that his hate couldn’t restore his daughter. He started looking at how Jesus responded to hatred by calling us to turn the other cheek. He vowed to overcome the tragedy and devote his time to working with violent criminals.

Since that time, Stevens spent two days each week working as a counselor and lay minister at a maximum security prison. He came to call some of the 29 prisoners on death row his friends. Rita Brothers, a friend of Paul’s, wrote: “An inspiration and a role model for me, I highly respected Paul Stevens because I actually witnessed him living out the Gospel call to work charity, justice and peace.” Paul Stevens died in 2002, a man who had lost his hatred and was able to forgive others.

The Lord calls upon us to forgive others just as we have been forgiven by Him. Today in prayer, thank Christ that you have been freed from your sins and then forgive others in the same way.

“They who forgive most will be most forgiven.” – Philip J. Bailey

God’s Word: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” – Colossians 3:13

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2003, Devotional E-Mail DEVOTIONS IN LUKE