Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21,22)
The Hebrew word for ‘waters’ is ‘Mayim’. It has it’s origin in an old Hebrew word which means ‘chaos’.
In bygone eras, our ancestors were afraid of the sea. They were cautious and fearful of deep bodies of water.Their boats could not withstand the ‘chaos’ that often erupted, even on a lake, and many a life was lost to a watery grave.
On 8th June 1972, a nine year old girl’s life was thrown into unimaginable chaos when she, along with group of civilians and South Vietnamese soldiers were fleeing for safety as her home town was being attacked. Her name was Phan Thị Kim Phúc. A bomb exploded near her. The bombing killed two of her cousins and she received third degree burns down her back and arms after her clothing was burned by the fire.
She was hospitalised for 14 moths during which time she endured 17 surgical procedures including skin transplants. Pain was her constant companion. It wasn’t until ten years later that Kim Phúc was able to properly move again.
For ten years she lived with bitterness, hatred and anger. She lived with the question, “Why me? Why did that happen to me? Then in 1982, tired of the suffering and pain, she wanted to commit suicide. However, one day in a library in Saigon, she found a New Testament and she became a Christian. She said , “My enemies list became my prayer list…forgiveness set my heart free.” She swapped her chaos for forgiveness and has gone on to help traumatised children over many years.
As Billy Graham said:
“In one bold stroke, forgiveness obliterates the past and permits us to enter the land of new beginnings.” This is true of God forgiving us, but it is as equally true of us forgiving others.
Is your life in chaos today today because you are holding on to unforgiveness? Are you bitter, angry, resentful? If a young girl, physically and mentally scarred by chaos can forgive, so can you. It’s a matter of choice.
Footnote: Kim Phúc is more widely known as the Napalm Girl in the famous Pulitzer Prize winning photograph. She features in the centre of the photograph along with other children, running along the bombed road crying, followed by South Vietnamese soldiers.
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