Foot stepping on a small flower
Foot stepping on a small flower

Praying to Love and Forgive

"...Love your enemies, do good to those
who hate you, bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.... And pray
then like this... ‘forgive us our debts, as
we also have forgiven our debtors.'"
Jesus' words in Luke 6:27-28; Matthew 6:9,12 ESV

Can forgiveness be sincere without the presence of love? In other words, does the failure to forgive lie in the inability to love the debtor? As I have contemplated this question, it appears that true forgiveness without love is impossible. Scripture verses like John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life," and Romans 5:8, "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," reveal that love is a posture in the heart that makes forgiveness possible. Corrie Ten Boom wrote: "We must mirror God's love in the midst of a world full of hatred. We are the mirrors of God's love, so we may show Jesus by our lives."

The book, Extreme Devotion, tells the story of a young boy's confrontation with a Soviet captain who had arrested and imprisoned his parents. The young boy's life turned upside down with his parents' arrest, and he was left on his own in a cruel world. Who would love, protect, care for and instruct him? He would have battled intense emotions of fear, uncertainty and anger. But, instead of falling prey to bitterness and hatred, he remembered how his mother taught him to demonstrate Jesus in every situation and keep trusting his Heavenly Father.

On the day of his mother's birthday, he decided to find the captain responsible for her imprisonment. When he found Captain Marco, he stood before him and said: "Captain, you are the man who put my parents in prison. Today is my mother's birthday, and I always buy her a flower for her birthday. Since my mother taught me to love my enemies and to reward evil with good, I have brought the flower instead for the mother of your chil¬dren. Please take it home to your wife tonight, and tell her about my love and the love of Christ." 1

This simple yet powerful encounter of love and forgiveness dismantled the heart of stone within this battle-hardened soldier. He embraced the young boy as though he was his own and wept openly. Captain Marco knew he could no longer arrest and torture the Christians as ordered. As a result, the captain was soon arrested and thrown into the prison where he had sent many others. There, he was beaten as a traitor to the Communist Party. Still, in that dismal prison, he experienced the love and forgiveness of his fellow cellmates – the Christians he had previously arrested and beaten.

Forgiveness is a perfume only love can produce. Pastor Wurmbrand wrote, "A flower, if you bruise it under your feet, rewards you by giving you its perfume." 2 In a world reeking from the rotten fruit produced by unforgiveness, Christians must accept the bruising where the sweet fragrance of Jesus permeates. Are you willing to receive the crushing so a hurting world can smell the sweetness of Christ's redeeming love?

Persecuted Christians ask us to pray that they can expend their lives for God's glory by loving and forgiving their persecutors. Therefore, it is a prayer we must raise for the church persecuted, for forgiveness will be the way in which the love of Christ is best demonstrated. Remember, we cannot sustain the call to love our enemies in our own capacity. Nevertheless, in His strength, we can cry out during our afflictions, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34 NIVUK).

"Make me a channel of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring Your love;
where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord;
and where there's doubt, true faith in You." 3

Help us, Lord, we pray.

Floyd (signature)

Floyd A. Brobbel
Chief Executive Officer
The Voice of the Martyrs Canada Inc.

1 Extreme Devotion, p. 11
2 Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ: 50th Anniversary Edition, 2017, p. 63
3 Prayer of Saint Francis

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