July 22, 2013
Forgiving Your Enemy
Forgiving our enemies unleashes God's power and provision in our lives. Just ask Brandon Biggs.
Several years ago, Brandon’s father, Gregory, was struck by a car. His injured body flew into the windshield of the car and lodged there. He might have survived the accident if the driver, Chante Mallard, hadn't been high on drugs and alcohol. But instead of rendering aid or calling for help, Mallard drove home and parked her car in the garage, leaving Gregory Biggs to die.
After authorities put the pieces of the case together and arrested Mallard, she was given a 50-year sentence. At the end of the trial, she tearfully asked Biggs' family for forgiveness. Brandon then read a statement in which he told Mallard he accepted her apology, "but in return, I hope that you will accept my forgiveness, and I hope you will accept the forgiveness of Jesus Christ."
Biggs’ stirring act of forgiveness caught the attention of Randy Skillicorn, a death row inmate in Missouri, who is also the editor of Compassion, a ministry that awards scholarship money to relatives of murder victims.
"His overwhelming desire to forgive this woman; it's not something that you generally hear from the public," said Mr. Skillicorn in an interview from prison. "The message that he was trying to give was far more valuable than any amount of money we could ever give him."
Shortly afterward, Brandon was contacted by a representative from Compassion and encouraged to apply for the scholarship. In his application essay, Brandon said that, while he had many feelings toward the individual who murdered his father, it was because of the personal forgiveness he had experienced in his own life through his relationship with Jesus Christ that he was able to offer forgiveness to her.
Brandon used his scholarship to attend a Christian university as a ministerial student. One of his goals was to work with incarcerated felons.
Forgiveness is not a simple thing. In fact, it is extremely complex, bringing into play our sense of fairness, our fear of repeated hurt, our own pride, and much more. But forgiveness can be a reality, even in situations so terrible as Brandon’s, through a relationship with Jesus. It is Jesus’ forgiveness that can flow to us and through us, all the way to our enemies.
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