Ephesians 4:32 – “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
When Samuel Marsden went to Australia as a chaplain, he was assigned to minister to a group of convicts. Although many were friendly, his earnest contending for the faith incurred the wrath of some who disliked his outspoken way of rebuking them for their sin.
Walking one day along a riverbank not far from his home, he saw an ex-convict jump into the river, apparently intending to commit suicide. Throwing off his coat, the chaplain plunged bravely into the swiftly flowing stream and sought to rescue him. To his horror he found that the man had merely decoyed him into the waters in order to choke him and try to drown him. Eventually the rather tough and wiry Marsden exhausted his evil opponent and dragged him to the shore. Much to the surprise of the beaten one, Marsden invited him into his house where he gave him dry clothing. Said the chaplain, “I shall not tell a soul what has happened today. I know God has already forgiven you and so have I.” The conscience-smitten man recognized that here indeed was one who practiced what he preached. He soon was led to Christ and later became a devoted assistant to the chaplain. Such is the power of true forgiveness!
Too often we say, “I can forgive but I can’t forget.” Ah, but that is not the true way to follow in Christ’s footsteps. When God forgives, He blots out even the memory of the transgression, for we read, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). Let us heed Colossians 3:13, which admonishes us, “Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye!”