OCPM Members Teach Inmates Victory Through Forgiveness

In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus gave us a radical command “love your enemies; bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” But you might say, “IT ISN’T POSSIBLE TO LOVE MY ENEMIES AND TO DO GOOD TO THEM!” Not true!

It was possible for David, who wept for his enemies Saul and Absalom, who had perished. 2 Kings 1 and 2 Samuel 18. Mourning over the destruction of enemies is a sign of love for enemies.

It was possible for Archdeacon Stephen, who prayed for his enemies “Lord do not hold this sin against them” as they stoned him to death (Acts 7:60).

It was possible for Joseph to forgive his brothers who sold him into slavery and lied to their
Father telling him that Joseph had been killed by an animal. (Genesis 37-50)

It was possible for Jesus who asked his Father to forgive his enemies who put him to death for they knew not what they were doing.

In my book, “The Tools of Spiritual Warfare,” I write that “Unforgiveness is a harbinger of demons. It creates a stronghold where demons can dwell and from which they can hold us captive. When we refuse to forgive – or refuse at least to ask God to help us forgive – we are saying that we know more than God, we have more right to be offended than God, and that we are more important than God. God has forgiven everyone, even those who crucified Jesus. Jesus’ last words were ‘Father, forgive them’ (Luke 23:34). If God can forgive everyone, it is really quite a self-important and proud thought that I do not have to forgive too. It is this pride of unforgiveness that gives the demons a foothold in our hearts. I am not saying that forgiveness is easy or that God ignores the evil that others have done to us, I am saying that in order to pray, we must at least be willing to ask God for the grace to forgive. We must at least be willing to turn over the judgment of the other to God: ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord’ (Heb 10:30).”

Through the work of OCPM’s jail and prison ministry workers, the inmates they encounter are learning how to forgive which allows them to become overcomers instead of victims. Your monetary donations help fund the work of OCPM in reducing the rate of recidivism.

-Joy Corey

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