Radical Forgiveness | TBN

Radical Forgiveness

Watch Radical Forgiveness
November 3, 2019
27:29

It Is Written with John Bradshaw

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Radical Forgiveness

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  • -John Bradshaw: This is It Is Written.
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  • I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me.
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  • In an age of shocking crimes,
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  • in an age where, where mass shootings
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  • just don't really surprise us anymore,
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  • in an age of unhinged people committing heinous acts,
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  • this one was really very shocking.
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  • Charleston, South Carolina, was founded in 1670.
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  • It's situated right on the Atlantic coast
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  • and was named in honor of the English monarch at the time,
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  • King Charles II.
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  • A city with roots that deep
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  • is clearly a place with some interesting history.
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  • And, given the time periods involved--
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  • colonization, slavery, the Revolution, the Civil War--
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  • some of that history is painful.
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  • Just a few days before summer began in 2015,
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  • a 21-year-old South Carolina man traveled to Charleston
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  • with malice on his mind.
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  • The young man who came to Charleston that day
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  • possessed a sickened mind and a gun.
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  • A combustible mixture.
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  • He came here to Emmanuel AME Church
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  • fully intending to do harm--
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  • or more to the point, fully intending to take life.
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  • Motivated by racial hatred, he mingled with worshipers
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  • at the mid-week Bible study,
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  • biding his time until he fired almost 80 shots
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  • and took nine lives.
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  • He murdered six women and three men.
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  • He was arrested the next day almost 250 miles away.
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  • It's not easy to imagine the impact of an event like this.
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  • Think of it this way.
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  • In September of 1989, at least two dozen South Carolinians
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  • died when Hurricane Hugo battered parts of the state.
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  • Now, of course, a tragedy is a tragedy,
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  • but this was nature; things happen.
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  • Earthquakes and tornadoes and hurricanes are to be expected.
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  • But what happened in June of 2015 was different,
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  • very different, in fact.
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  • When a person dies in a natural disaster, for example,
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  • there are some survival mechanisms,
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  • some psychological mechanisms survivors
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  • or those affected by the tragedy can default to.
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  • In spite of, "This isn't fair."
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  • In spite of, "Why did this happen to us?"
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  • In spite of, "Life is rough right now."
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  • In spite of a sense of helplessness and anger,
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  • what we know is that natural disasters happen.
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  • We know that cancer, for example,
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  • heart disease, strokes, they occur.
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  • It was terribly sad that Grandma died,
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  • but, after all, people do die.
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  • But how do you wrestle with something like that?
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  • Nine people didn't simply die here in Charleston that night.
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  • They had their lives snatched away due to a deliberate,
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  • thought-out, planned act of hatred.
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  • Children were left without parents.
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  • Parents lost their children.
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  • Siblings and friends and neighbors and colleagues,
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  • all had to wrestle with a radically altered existence,
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  • one that contained now some very big holes.
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  • People went to church that night--to church--
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  • to worship, to pray, to study the Word of God.
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  • This was hideous.
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  • We know how God feels about murder.
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  • The sixth commandment is probably best expressed
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  • when it's translated, "Thou shalt not murder."
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  • This is truly disastrous.
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  • So how do you go on when somebody you love is murdered
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  • in circumstances like these,
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  • by a person who sought out innocent people
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  • for the purpose of doing something ultimately hateful?
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  • Well, we're about to find out.
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  • Myra Thompson was there that night at the church
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  • often referred to as "Mother Emmanuel."
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  • She was among the nine people murdered.
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  • Her husband Anthony has made the remarkable decision
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  • to forgive the man who killed not only his wife,
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  • but eight others.
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  • Thank you so much for joining me.
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  • I appreciate it greatly.
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  • It was June 17, 2015. What happened?
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  • -Pastor Anthony Thompson: Someone called me
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  • from the church--
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  • not from the church--
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  • it was a member of Emmanuel AME Church called me
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  • and, and told me that shooting was going on at the church,
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  • and somebody was shooting outside.
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  • That's, at least, I thought it was outside.
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  • So I, I took off out of my house.
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  • I, I drove down, found out that shooting was taking place
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  • inside the church, not outside the church.
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  • Then I was told that family members had been moved
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  • from the church to a hotel.
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  • So I thought everything was okay,
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  • until I got there,
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  • found out that ambulances were parked outside.
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  • Nine.
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  • So I thought, had to be more to it than what I had been told.
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  • And once I searched, trying to find my wife,
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  • frantically searching, trying to find her,
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  • and trying to get into Emmanuel AME Church,
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  • I discovered...I lost my best friend,
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  • the one I love the most.
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  • And, uh... [inhales and exhales]
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  • it kind of took everything out of me.
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  • -John: You made a remarkable decision, however.
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  • This was a crime intentionally perpetrated by a hate-filled man
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  • bent on causing pain, perpetrating violence,
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  • and, and starting a race war.
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  • -Pastor Thompson: Mm-hmm.
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  • -John: But you didn't take the bait.
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  • And somehow you and others made a decision to forgive,
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  • a decision I'm sure some people would think is crazy.
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  • Let's get to that in a moment, but I want to ask you,
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  • how were you able to make the decision to forgive, and why?
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  • -Pastor Thompson: Well, the decision to forgive Dylann
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  • came easy.
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  • Not for me, but easy in a way that God stepped in and,
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  • and made it possible,
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  • because He put me in a place in the bond hearing,
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  • a place where I didn't want to be.
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  • Then when I got there, He had me to say something
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  • that I had no idea I was going to say.
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  • And that was to forgive him.
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  • And so, that's what I mean when I say it was easy.
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  • But then...you know, after thinking about it for some time
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  • after actually doing it,
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  • I realized that He had been preparing me for that moment
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  • for a long time.
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  • -John: Why do you think it was that you chose to forgive
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  • when so easily you could have said,
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  • "I'm not going to forgive,"
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  • and you, you could have stood up in that hearing
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  • and said all manner of unkind things?
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  • Why did you make that choice?
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  • -Pastor Thompson: Well...
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  • first, I didn't want Dylann to have control over my life.
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  • I didn't want him to have control over my children's life.
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  • I wanted to just be rid of him.
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  • And one way of being rid of him was to forgive him
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  • so that then his intentions of starting a race war wouldn't,
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  • wouldn't happen.
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  • And, if I'd gone the opposite way,
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  • well, I would have gave in to him,
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  • and he would have been in control.
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  • And so forgiveness was a way of releasing myself
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  • from his control.
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  • -John: And clearly that's what you've done.
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  • You've released yourself from the control of the person
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  • who committed this terrible act of violence.
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  • I wonder if some people would say you let him off the hook.
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  • -Pastor Thompson: Yes. Some people have said that.
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  • Some people said that they don't see how
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  • I could forgive him because it's like saying,
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  • I don't want anything to happen to him;
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  • I don't want him to be punished.
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  • And, um, my answer was, "No, it was letting me off the hook."
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  • Dylann is being punished.
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  • Dylann is in jail--
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  • nine, nine counts of, uh, the death sentence.
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  • And so I'm not letting him off the hook;
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  • I'm letting myself off the hook,
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  • you know, from having him have control,
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  • from, from me being angry,
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  • and from me hating him and just making my life miserable.
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  • Because if I had not forgiven Dylann, you know, the anger
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  • and harboring anger and hate in my heart for him
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  • would only destroy my life.
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  • -John: What sort of man would you be today
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  • if you'd not made the choice to forgive?
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  • -Pastor Thompson: I probably wouldn't be at this church.
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  • Because, first thing came to my mind was,
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  • what, what am I going to do? I have no more purpose.
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  • And I was thinking, well, does that mean leaving the church?
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  • So, I probably wouldn't be here.
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  • Could have just continued to pity myself and pity myself.
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  • I don't think it would have been good.
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  • My life probably would have changed drastically.
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  • You know, I probably would have gone from God
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  • to not depending on Him, depending on myself.
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  • Could have led to drinking, drugs, uh, I don't know.
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  • You know, it could have gone quite the opposite.
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  • -John: Here's another unknown,
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  • although people have speculated on this.
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  • Your decision to forgive, the decision made by you and others,
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  • to forgive a murderer had a very powerful effect on a city.
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  • -Pastor Thompson: Mmm.
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  • -John: Tell me about that,
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  • how the city of Charleston was impacted by forgiveness.
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  • -Pastor Thompson: Well, the city of Charleston
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  • was not looking for forgiveness.
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  • They were looking for us to start a riot,
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  • to start the race war like Dylann wanted.
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  • And from that not happening, it just put everybody in awe,
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  • gave them time to think-- what, what just happened?
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  • You know, why?
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  • What was that? You know.
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  • And, and then immediately everybody just hold hands
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  • and hugged, cried together,
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  • you know, uh, brought flowers
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  • and put them in front of the church together.
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  • And spent days, I mean, the city of Charleston was crowded;
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  • the downtown area was so crowded traffic couldn't even move
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  • because the people wouldn't move.
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  • The people just wanted to be attached to somebody.
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  • And it didn't matter what your race was or what your color
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  • or your culture was or how different you spoke.
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  • You know, we, we just wanted to communicate.
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  • We, we, you know, it was like,
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  • it was like we all had a sense of family
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  • 'cause somebody came and just destroyed and killed
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  • some people in our family, like brothers and sisters,
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  • and so we came together like brothers and sisters,
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  • like, you know, "Oh my God," you know,
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  • you know, "Myra's gone."
  • 00:10:44.090 --> 00:10:46.080
  • You know, "Tywanza, he's gone."
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  • You know, just like you, like they lost somebody, too.
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  • And so it gave everybody a sense of just wanting to be together,
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  • being a, being a family,
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  • and that's what we're trying to work on now.
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  • -John: There's power in forgiveness.
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  • There is power in forgiveness.
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  • Looking forward to talking more with Pastor Anthony Thompson
  • 00:11:01.130 --> 00:11:03.200
  • about this in just a moment.
  • 00:11:03.210 --> 00:11:05.280
  • [music]
  • 00:11:05.290 --> 00:11:11.040
  • -Announcer: We hear it all the time:
  • 00:11:15.040 --> 00:11:17.010
  • God is all-powerful, and God is love.
  • 00:11:17.020 --> 00:11:19.240
  • But if God is so powerful and loving,
  • 00:11:19.250 --> 00:11:22.030
  • why is there so much suffering?
  • 00:11:22.040 --> 00:11:24.050
  • Discover what the Bible says on the subject
  • 00:11:24.060 --> 00:11:26.040
  • by requesting today's free offer,
  • 00:11:26.050 --> 00:11:28.050
  • "Why Does God Allow Suffering?"
  • 00:11:28.060 --> 00:11:29.240
  • It's absolutely free.
  • 00:11:29.250 --> 00:11:31.110
  • Just call 800-253-3000,
  • 00:11:31.120 --> 00:11:34.280
  • 800-253-3000,
  • 00:11:34.290 --> 00:11:38.020
  • or write to the address on your screen.
  • 00:11:38.030 --> 00:11:39.240
  • You can also make your request online
  • 00:11:39.250 --> 00:11:41.130
  • at iiwoffer.com.
  • 00:11:41.140 --> 00:11:43.240
  • -John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me on It Is Written.
  • 00:11:45.090 --> 00:11:47.240
  • My very special guest is Pastor Anthony Thompson,
  • 00:11:47.250 --> 00:11:50.180
  • whose book, "Called to Forgive,"
  • 00:11:50.190 --> 00:11:52.130
  • recounts the terrible tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina,
  • 00:11:52.140 --> 00:11:56.140
  • in 2015 and its aftermath.
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  • Uh, tell me about the process of writing that book.
  • 00:11:59.240 --> 00:12:02.240
  • It had to be painful, therapeutic.
  • 00:12:02.250 --> 00:12:06.000
  • How was that for you?
  • 00:12:06.010 --> 00:12:07.130
  • -Pastor Anthony Thompson: Well, initially,
  • 00:12:07.140 --> 00:12:08.240
  • I didn't want to write immediately
  • 00:12:08.250 --> 00:12:11.060
  • because...we had people coming at us
  • 00:12:11.070 --> 00:12:15.130
  • from all different kind of directions,
  • 00:12:15.140 --> 00:12:17.110
  • and didn't have time to mourn,
  • 00:12:17.120 --> 00:12:19.250
  • barely had time to think about what had happened.
  • 00:12:19.260 --> 00:12:22.220
  • And I didn't want to re-live that, you know, not at the time.
  • 00:12:22.230 --> 00:12:27.180
  • And so, um, I gave it some prayer,
  • 00:12:27.190 --> 00:12:30.160
  • with the help of other people praying with me.
  • 00:12:30.170 --> 00:12:33.210
  • And then, eventually, I started speaking,
  • 00:12:33.220 --> 00:12:38.010
  • started speaking to different crowds,
  • 00:12:38.020 --> 00:12:40.170
  • different churches, organizations,
  • 00:12:40.180 --> 00:12:42.280
  • and as I spoke, it was like venting,
  • 00:12:42.290 --> 00:12:46.120
  • and I could feel myself being relieved day by day.
  • 00:12:46.130 --> 00:12:50.000
  • But then after a while, after realizing the real purpose,
  • 00:12:50.010 --> 00:12:55.240
  • that God wanted this to be a mission
  • 00:12:55.250 --> 00:12:59.020
  • and spread the gospel of forgiveness,
  • 00:12:59.030 --> 00:13:01.290
  • is when I heard the people seeking, seeking something,
  • 00:13:02.000 --> 00:13:05.100
  • some kind of peace,
  • 00:13:05.110 --> 00:13:06.180
  • wanting to know how-- "What is forgiveness?"
  • 00:13:06.190 --> 00:13:08.020
  • "How does it work?" You know, "What can I do?"
  • 00:13:08.030 --> 00:13:10.040
  • And then it kicked in.
  • 00:13:10.050 --> 00:13:12.230
  • You know what, yeah, I need to write this book.
  • 00:13:12.240 --> 00:13:15.000
  • -John: It's interesting, as a minister of the gospel,
  • 00:13:15.010 --> 00:13:16.280
  • forgiveness is your thing; it's what you talk about.
  • 00:13:16.290 --> 00:13:18.240
  • It, the, the gospel is about forgiveness.
  • 00:13:18.250 --> 00:13:21.130
  • A sinful world, we need reconciliation with God.
  • 00:13:21.140 --> 00:13:24.230
  • So talk to me about your understanding,
  • 00:13:24.240 --> 00:13:27.170
  • your experience in God's forgiveness towards us.
  • 00:13:27.180 --> 00:13:31.040
  • How do you understand that more differently or more completely,
  • 00:13:31.050 --> 00:13:33.190
  • now that you've been called to forgive in a very real,
  • 00:13:33.200 --> 00:13:39.100
  • very raw sort of a way?
  • 00:13:39.110 --> 00:13:41.150
  • -Pastor Thompson: Before this actually happened,
  • 00:13:41.160 --> 00:13:43.230
  • before God intervened...you know,
  • 00:13:43.240 --> 00:13:47.260
  • I didn't give forgiveness a real thought, a real deep thought.
  • 00:13:47.270 --> 00:13:52.260
  • All I knew was that I was a forgiven person,
  • 00:13:52.270 --> 00:13:55.240
  • and some of the things that I experienced in my life
  • 00:13:55.250 --> 00:13:58.260
  • from my childhood--I went through some things that,
  • 00:13:58.270 --> 00:14:01.010
  • uh, some people who offended me, you know--
  • 00:14:01.020 --> 00:14:04.090
  • I forgave them in the past.
  • 00:14:04.100 --> 00:14:06.250
  • And, but never really experienced the kind of peace
  • 00:14:06.260 --> 00:14:11.150
  • that I experienced when I forgave Dylann
  • 00:14:11.160 --> 00:14:14.000
  • at the bond hearing that day, you know,
  • 00:14:14.010 --> 00:14:16.160
  • because what he did to my wife, it was completely different.
  • 00:14:16.170 --> 00:14:21.030
  • Um, and so, I saw forgiveness then as,
  • 00:14:21.040 --> 00:14:27.000
  • well, something I'm supposed to do, you know.
  • 00:14:27.010 --> 00:14:30.140
  • And I knew that it, if I did it,
  • 00:14:30.150 --> 00:14:33.030
  • something good would come out of it.
  • 00:14:33.040 --> 00:14:35.150
  • But then when I forgave Dylann,
  • 00:14:35.160 --> 00:14:36.280
  • it was more than something good came out of it.
  • 00:14:36.290 --> 00:14:39.100
  • It was, I received a peace, you know,
  • 00:14:39.110 --> 00:14:44.230
  • I mean, a, a calmness,
  • 00:14:44.240 --> 00:14:47.220
  • a more sense of letting God have control,
  • 00:14:47.230 --> 00:14:52.050
  • knowing that I could trust Him, you know,
  • 00:14:52.060 --> 00:14:56.100
  • because of what He brought into my life,
  • 00:14:56.110 --> 00:14:59.060
  • where He gave me new purpose.
  • 00:14:59.070 --> 00:15:01.190
  • And so it was that, that, it was different...
  • 00:15:01.200 --> 00:15:05.270
  • at the tragedy than it was prior to the tragedy.
  • 00:15:05.280 --> 00:15:09.120
  • -John: Undoubtedly there are many people watching us
  • 00:15:09.130 --> 00:15:11.010
  • right now who are struggling to forgive, refusing to forgive.
  • 00:15:11.020 --> 00:15:16.080
  • "I know I should forgive, but I won't.
  • 00:15:16.090 --> 00:15:18.270
  • It hurts too much."
  • 00:15:18.280 --> 00:15:20.060
  • This and that.
  • 00:15:20.070 --> 00:15:21.080
  • What would you say to that person that's wrestling
  • 00:15:21.090 --> 00:15:23.000
  • with forgiveness?
  • 00:15:23.010 --> 00:15:24.040
  • How does someone go about forgiving another person?
  • 00:15:24.050 --> 00:15:28.000
  • -Pastor Thompson: I would say,
  • 00:15:28.010 --> 00:15:29.040
  • right now, I know you're hurting.
  • 00:15:29.050 --> 00:15:32.050
  • You know, I know somebody did something to offend you,
  • 00:15:32.060 --> 00:15:35.040
  • and, and it hurts you, and you probably want to get them back.
  • 00:15:35.050 --> 00:15:39.110
  • You know, you probably hate the person.
  • 00:15:39.120 --> 00:15:41.140
  • You're probably angry at that person.
  • 00:15:41.150 --> 00:15:43.170
  • And you feel you've got to do that
  • 00:15:43.180 --> 00:15:46.230
  • because it's going to make you feel better.
  • 00:15:46.240 --> 00:15:49.100
  • Well, I'm going to let you know now:
  • 00:15:49.110 --> 00:15:50.200
  • It won't make you feel better. It'll make you feel worse.
  • 00:15:50.210 --> 00:15:54.030
  • Because harboring anger and harboring hate,
  • 00:15:54.040 --> 00:15:57.090
  • it affects your health; it affects your mind;
  • 00:15:57.100 --> 00:16:00.160
  • you know, it just affects your soul.
  • 00:16:00.170 --> 00:16:02.020
  • And you just get deeper and deeper
  • 00:16:02.030 --> 00:16:04.170
  • and deeper and deeper until, till,
  • 00:16:04.180 --> 00:16:06.290
  • till wanting to do something bad.
  • 00:16:07.000 --> 00:16:09.080
  • But forgiveness is, it may be hard to do,
  • 00:16:09.090 --> 00:16:13.080
  • but God can help you.
  • 00:16:13.090 --> 00:16:15.280
  • All you need to do is to ask God to forgive you;
  • 00:16:15.290 --> 00:16:20.150
  • then ask God to help you forgive the person
  • 00:16:20.160 --> 00:16:22.220
  • you can't seem to forgive.
  • 00:16:22.230 --> 00:16:24.200
  • And that's all He'll require of you,
  • 00:16:24.210 --> 00:16:26.060
  • and He will help you do it.
  • 00:16:26.070 --> 00:16:28.030
  • You will do it.
  • 00:16:28.040 --> 00:16:29.100
  • And when you do it, I guarantee you 100 percent
  • 00:16:29.110 --> 00:16:33.020
  • that He will give you that peace that you've been trying
  • 00:16:33.030 --> 00:16:35.250
  • to find through other means of being angry and revenge.
  • 00:16:35.260 --> 00:16:39.050
  • -John: How about, though, though--
  • 00:16:39.060 --> 00:16:41.280
  • someone's going to say, "Yeah, my neighbor backed into my car
  • 00:16:41.290 --> 00:16:45.030
  • and then lied about it. Cost me $1.100."
  • 00:16:45.040 --> 00:16:48.180
  • But that's that. But what about the big things?
  • 00:16:48.190 --> 00:16:53.260
  • And you're qualified to speak about this
  • 00:16:53.270 --> 00:16:55.140
  • 'cause you went through the biggest thing.
  • 00:16:55.150 --> 00:16:57.260
  • Help someone get over that hump.
  • 00:16:57.270 --> 00:16:59.290
  • 'Cause I can just imagine somebody saying,
  • 00:17:00.020 --> 00:17:02.030
  • "Yeah, I, I understand that,
  • 00:17:02.040 --> 00:17:03.150
  • but you don't know what I've been through."
  • 00:17:03.160 --> 00:17:06.140
  • How do we address that with the really difficult things?
  • 00:17:06.150 --> 00:17:09.200
  • [inhales and exhales]
  • 00:17:09.210 --> 00:17:11.240
  • -Pastor Thompson: We can make things difficult,
  • 00:17:11.250 --> 00:17:13.130
  • because we, we, we define sin as small sin,
  • 00:17:13.140 --> 00:17:18.280
  • as big sin.
  • 00:17:18.290 --> 00:17:20.110
  • We look at lying as something small.
  • 00:17:20.120 --> 00:17:22.150
  • "Well, I can do that. I can forgive them."
  • 00:17:22.160 --> 00:17:24.020
  • Then we look at murders.
  • 00:17:24.030 --> 00:17:25.060
  • "Oh, that's, that's just too, that's just too much.
  • 00:17:25.070 --> 00:17:27.130
  • I can't forgive him."
  • 00:17:27.140 --> 00:17:28.270
  • But sin is a sin.
  • 00:17:28.280 --> 00:17:31.220
  • You know, wrong is wrong; bad is bad.
  • 00:17:31.230 --> 00:17:34.250
  • There's no greater; there's no lesser;
  • 00:17:34.260 --> 00:17:36.290
  • they're all the same.
  • 00:17:37.000 --> 00:17:37.290
  • So, you've got to take a look at that first.
  • 00:17:38.000 --> 00:17:40.150
  • You know, then you've got to take a look at your own life.
  • 00:17:40.160 --> 00:17:42.280
  • You've got to examine yourself and say to yourself,
  • 00:17:42.290 --> 00:17:46.200
  • "Who have I done wrong to? Who have I lied to?"
  • 00:17:46.210 --> 00:17:48.170
  • What, you know, you know, was it, was it a big sin,
  • 00:17:48.180 --> 00:17:51.160
  • or was it a small sin?
  • 00:17:51.170 --> 00:17:52.260
  • There's no, no greater.
  • 00:17:52.270 --> 00:17:54.190
  • And then if you can see yourself as a person
  • 00:17:54.200 --> 00:17:58.060
  • who's done somebody wrong or said something wrong,
  • 00:17:58.070 --> 00:18:00.100
  • then it makes it a little easier for you to see the person
  • 00:18:00.110 --> 00:18:03.010
  • that did you wrong,
  • 00:18:03.020 --> 00:18:04.040
  • no matter how big, how small you may see it to be.
  • 00:18:04.050 --> 00:18:06.250
  • But there's no bigger sin, and there's no smaller sin.
  • 00:18:06.260 --> 00:18:08.270
  • Sin is sin.
  • 00:18:08.280 --> 00:18:10.170
  • -John: And if we look at the Bible,
  • 00:18:10.180 --> 00:18:11.260
  • we understand that Jesus died, not because of your sin;
  • 00:18:11.270 --> 00:18:16.040
  • He died because of my sin.
  • 00:18:16.050 --> 00:18:17.250
  • So, I'm responsible for the death of the Son of God,
  • 00:18:17.260 --> 00:18:20.270
  • and surely that ought to motivate me somehow
  • 00:18:20.280 --> 00:18:23.120
  • to exercise forgiveness.
  • 00:18:23.130 --> 00:18:25.110
  • Jesus said, didn't He, "Father, forgive them."
  • 00:18:25.120 --> 00:18:30.020
  • "Father, forgive them."
  • 00:18:30.030 --> 00:18:31.200
  • As a minister of the gospel,
  • 00:18:31.210 --> 00:18:33.170
  • what does that example of forgiveness
  • 00:18:33.180 --> 00:18:35.160
  • exercised or demonstrated by Jesus mean to you,
  • 00:18:35.170 --> 00:18:38.010
  • and how do you share that and relate that to others?
  • 00:18:38.020 --> 00:18:41.200
  • -Pastor Thompson: It means a lot to me,
  • 00:18:41.210 --> 00:18:43.140
  • 'cause first of all, the pain and the suffering that He took.
  • 00:18:43.150 --> 00:18:48.140
  • I mean, He, He was, He, He was beaten as He walked to Calvary.
  • 00:18:48.150 --> 00:18:54.050
  • You know, He, He, they, they took a whip with,
  • 00:18:54.060 --> 00:18:57.230
  • tied with bones and, and, and, and like glass,
  • 00:18:57.240 --> 00:19:01.090
  • like metal on the end of the tips of it,
  • 00:19:01.100 --> 00:19:03.130
  • just tore Him, ripped His body.
  • 00:19:03.140 --> 00:19:05.120
  • Then they put crowns of thorns on His head.
  • 00:19:05.130 --> 00:19:07.040
  • Then they took, set the spear in His side, you know,
  • 00:19:07.050 --> 00:19:10.110
  • where the blood and the water surrounding His, His heart,
  • 00:19:10.120 --> 00:19:14.040
  • you know, just came down His body.
  • 00:19:14.050 --> 00:19:16.040
  • And then, they nailed Him to the cross, hands and feet.
  • 00:19:16.050 --> 00:19:20.100
  • I mean, that's real pain and suffering.
  • 00:19:20.110 --> 00:19:22.240
  • But He didn't have to do it. He did it for you and me.
  • 00:19:22.250 --> 00:19:26.020
  • And He said, "Father, forgive them."
  • 00:19:26.030 --> 00:19:29.010
  • So, if He can do all that for me and do all that for you,
  • 00:19:29.020 --> 00:19:35.000
  • then we should be able to forgive someone who does,
  • 00:19:35.010 --> 00:19:38.000
  • who's done something so small to us.
  • 00:19:38.010 --> 00:19:42.200
  • You know, I mean,
  • 00:19:42.210 --> 00:19:45.150
  • for God's sake, you know, forgive that person.
  • 00:19:45.160 --> 00:19:48.240
  • -John: "Called to Forgive."
  • 00:19:48.250 --> 00:19:50.230
  • If anybody knows something about forgiveness,
  • 00:19:50.240 --> 00:19:53.030
  • it's Pastor Anthony Thompson.
  • 00:19:53.040 --> 00:19:54.130
  • We'll have a little more in just a moment.
  • 00:19:54.140 --> 00:19:56.140
  • [music]
  • 00:19:56.150 --> 00:20:02.200
  • -Announcer: We hear it all the time:
  • 00:20:05.200 --> 00:20:07.180
  • God is all-powerful, and God is love.
  • 00:20:07.190 --> 00:20:10.130
  • But if God is so powerful and loving,
  • 00:20:10.140 --> 00:20:12.200
  • why is there so much suffering?
  • 00:20:12.210 --> 00:20:14.240
  • Discover what the Bible says on the subject
  • 00:20:14.250 --> 00:20:16.240
  • by requesting today's free offer,
  • 00:20:16.250 --> 00:20:18.190
  • "Why Does God Allow Suffering?"
  • 00:20:18.200 --> 00:20:20.130
  • It's absolutely free.
  • 00:20:20.140 --> 00:20:22.010
  • Just call 800-253-3000,
  • 00:20:22.020 --> 00:20:25.150
  • 800-253-3000,
  • 00:20:25.160 --> 00:20:28.160
  • or write to the address on your screen.
  • 00:20:28.170 --> 00:20:30.060
  • You can also make your request online
  • 00:20:30.070 --> 00:20:31.210
  • at iiwoffer.com.
  • 00:20:31.220 --> 00:20:34.040
  • -John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me on It Is Written.
  • 00:20:36.130 --> 00:20:39.030
  • As we talk about forgiveness, let me ask you.
  • 00:20:39.040 --> 00:20:41.150
  • You preach about it; you've written about it.
  • 00:20:41.160 --> 00:20:43.050
  • Forgiveness in the Bible, where do we see it?
  • 00:20:43.060 --> 00:20:45.200
  • -Pastor Anthony Thompson: The two servants.
  • 00:20:45.210 --> 00:20:47.160
  • There was a servant who owed his, his master.
  • 00:20:47.170 --> 00:20:50.280
  • In today's money, it'd be like a million or more dollars.
  • 00:20:50.290 --> 00:20:53.220
  • And the master was ready to collect, and the servant said,
  • 00:20:53.230 --> 00:20:56.270
  • "Well, you know, Lord, I don't have it."
  • 00:20:56.280 --> 00:20:59.110
  • You know, and he begged for mercy, you know, said,
  • 00:20:59.120 --> 00:21:00.290
  • "Hey, look, I'll pay you later, you know.
  • 00:21:01.000 --> 00:21:03.020
  • I'll pay you as soon as I can."
  • 00:21:03.030 --> 00:21:04.280
  • He said, "But just have mercy on me."
  • 00:21:04.290 --> 00:21:07.090
  • And he had mercy on him.
  • 00:21:07.100 --> 00:21:08.100
  • And he relinquished his servant's debt.
  • 00:21:08.110 --> 00:21:11.190
  • I mean, he didn't even have to pay him back.
  • 00:21:11.200 --> 00:21:13.040
  • In other words, he forgave him.
  • 00:21:13.050 --> 00:21:15.060
  • And then that same servant, he was master to a servant,
  • 00:21:15.070 --> 00:21:18.270
  • and his servant owed him maybe a few bucks.
  • 00:21:18.280 --> 00:21:21.140
  • And he told the man,
  • 00:21:21.150 --> 00:21:22.210
  • "I'm going to throw you in jail until you pay me."
  • 00:21:22.220 --> 00:21:26.020
  • Now, the ridiculous part is that,
  • 00:21:26.030 --> 00:21:27.210
  • well, while he's in jail, he can't pay him.
  • 00:21:27.220 --> 00:21:30.160
  • So it means that he was never going to pay him,
  • 00:21:30.170 --> 00:21:32.030
  • so he was always going to be in jail.
  • 00:21:32.040 --> 00:21:34.270
  • Then the master who forgave him found out
  • 00:21:34.280 --> 00:21:39.010
  • that he had thrown his servant into jail, and then he said,
  • 00:21:39.020 --> 00:21:42.040
  • "You know, I forgave you,
  • 00:21:42.050 --> 00:21:43.150
  • and you could not forgive your servant?"
  • 00:21:43.160 --> 00:21:45.210
  • He says, "So now I'm going to throw you in jail,
  • 00:21:45.220 --> 00:21:48.050
  • and you're going to stay there, you know,
  • 00:21:48.060 --> 00:21:49.210
  • until you can pay me back."
  • 00:21:49.220 --> 00:21:51.120
  • Meaning that, you know, it was over for him.
  • 00:21:51.130 --> 00:21:54.230
  • And so, the story is that, you know, God is saying,
  • 00:21:54.240 --> 00:22:00.030
  • "If you want me to forgive you,
  • 00:22:00.040 --> 00:22:03.030
  • then you have to forgive the person who did you wrong."
  • 00:22:03.040 --> 00:22:06.050
  • -John: Forgiveness is so fundamental to the gospel,
  • 00:22:06.060 --> 00:22:08.110
  • but we wrestle with it.
  • 00:22:08.120 --> 00:22:09.100
  • Forgiveness sometimes seems so very hard,
  • 00:22:09.110 --> 00:22:11.230
  • but as you know, unforgiveness is much harder.
  • 00:22:11.240 --> 00:22:15.180
  • -Pastor Thompson: Much harder.
  • 00:22:15.190 --> 00:22:16.290
  • -John: Tell me about your wife, Myra.
  • 00:22:17.000 --> 00:22:18.130
  • What was she like?
  • 00:22:18.140 --> 00:22:19.160
  • -Pastor Thompson: Mmm. Myra was a beautiful woman.
  • 00:22:19.170 --> 00:22:21.260
  • Uh, very extraordinary woman, very loving.
  • 00:22:21.270 --> 00:22:24.170
  • She wasn't a stranger to anybody.
  • 00:22:24.180 --> 00:22:26.270
  • She was a giver.
  • 00:22:26.280 --> 00:22:28.070
  • Everybody loved Myra.
  • 00:22:28.080 --> 00:22:29.250
  • Myra loved everybody.
  • 00:22:29.260 --> 00:22:31.070
  • -John: What do you think she'd say to somebody
  • 00:22:31.080 --> 00:22:32.210
  • wrestling with a decision to forgive or otherwise?
  • 00:22:32.220 --> 00:22:36.160
  • -Pastor Thompson: Mmm. She would tell them,
  • 00:22:36.170 --> 00:22:40.120
  • "I don't know why you drank that poison,
  • 00:22:40.130 --> 00:22:42.100
  • think it's going to kill somebody else."
  • 00:22:42.110 --> 00:22:44.020
  • [laughs]
  • 00:22:44.030 --> 00:22:45.190
  • "You need to go ahead and forgive them."
  • 00:22:45.200 --> 00:22:47.130
  • You know, you just need to go ahead and forgive them.
  • 00:22:47.140 --> 00:22:50.100
  • Because that, you, you,
  • 00:22:50.110 --> 00:22:53.050
  • you drinking the poison not going to kill them, you know.
  • 00:22:53.060 --> 00:22:55.260
  • You holding hate in your heart or anger in your heart,
  • 00:22:55.270 --> 00:22:58.170
  • that's not going to do anything to them.
  • 00:22:58.180 --> 00:23:00.120
  • It's going to make your life miserable.
  • 00:23:00.130 --> 00:23:01.210
  • You're going to die from the poison, not them.
  • 00:23:01.220 --> 00:23:04.130
  • So, don't drink the poison. Forgive.
  • 00:23:04.140 --> 00:23:08.060
  • -John: Thanks so very much.
  • 00:23:08.070 --> 00:23:09.060
  • I appreciate you taking your time.
  • 00:23:09.070 --> 00:23:10.060
  • -Pastor Thompson: Amen. God bless you.
  • 00:23:10.070 --> 00:23:11.100
  • -John: God bless you.
  • 00:23:11.110 --> 00:23:12.160
  • -Pastor Thompson: Thank you for taking the time to come.
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  • -John: Sure.
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  • -Pastor Thompson: I appreciate it.
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  • -John: Thank you.
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  • [soft music]
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  • What we know is that life is going to challenge you.
  • 00:23:17.060 --> 00:23:19.260
  • Most of the time, those challenges, relatively small.
  • 00:23:19.270 --> 00:23:23.130
  • Sometimes big, occasionally massive.
  • 00:23:23.140 --> 00:23:26.200
  • The question is, how do you respond?
  • 00:23:26.210 --> 00:23:29.050
  • In this case, hate would serve no purpose.
  • 00:23:29.060 --> 00:23:32.030
  • It's certainly not going to bring anyone back.
  • 00:23:32.040 --> 00:23:34.270
  • A man has been sentenced to die.
  • 00:23:34.280 --> 00:23:36.200
  • His execution won't raise the dead.
  • 00:23:36.210 --> 00:23:39.290
  • The living will still have to go on through life
  • 00:23:40.000 --> 00:23:42.180
  • without people that they love the most.
  • 00:23:42.190 --> 00:23:46.030
  • Regardless of the wrong,
  • 00:23:46.040 --> 00:23:47.220
  • irrespective of the issue involved, forgiveness matters.
  • 00:23:47.230 --> 00:23:51.110
  • Forgiveness sets the forgiver free.
  • 00:23:51.120 --> 00:23:53.060
  • Forgiveness is God's way.
  • 00:23:53.070 --> 00:23:55.150
  • Now, I understand; sometimes the pain just seems way too great.
  • 00:23:55.160 --> 00:23:59.190
  • Sometimes the wrong just seems way too wrong.
  • 00:23:59.200 --> 00:24:02.110
  • But forgiveness was given by God so that you can be made whole.
  • 00:24:02.120 --> 00:24:07.200
  • Anthony Thompson shows us that we don't have to go through life
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  • hanging on to anger and hate.
  • 00:24:10.110 --> 00:24:13.020
  • We don't have to carry with us the weight of unforgiveness.
  • 00:24:13.030 --> 00:24:17.200
  • So how's that working out for you?
  • 00:24:17.210 --> 00:24:19.190
  • It seems that most everybody has something to forgive.
  • 00:24:19.200 --> 00:24:24.080
  • Which might just mean that most everybody
  • 00:24:24.090 --> 00:24:26.050
  • is hanging on to something that they might ought to let go.
  • 00:24:26.060 --> 00:24:29.110
  • Most people are far less whole than they ought to be
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  • simply because they're choosing not to forgive.
  • 00:24:32.140 --> 00:24:36.200
  • Think about the big picture.
  • 00:24:36.210 --> 00:24:38.130
  • As sinners, God has forgiven us. God has forgiven us so much.
  • 00:24:38.140 --> 00:24:43.070
  • Jesus died for our sins, and when we confess our sins,
  • 00:24:43.080 --> 00:24:47.010
  • the Bible says,
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  • "He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins."
  • 00:24:48.140 --> 00:24:52.010
  • Further, "to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
  • 00:24:52.020 --> 00:24:56.110
  • After what God has done for you,
  • 00:24:56.120 --> 00:24:59.250
  • can you extend that same forgiveness to another?
  • 00:24:59.260 --> 00:25:03.050
  • And through exercising the kind of forgiveness
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  • that God has exercised towards you,
  • 00:25:06.080 --> 00:25:09.080
  • you can experience the peace
  • 00:25:09.090 --> 00:25:11.090
  • that Anthony Thompson experiences,
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  • the peace that God wants you to have now and forever.
  • 00:25:14.010 --> 00:25:19.210
  • -John: Thank you for remembering that It Is Written
  • 00:25:20.160 --> 00:25:22.130
  • exists because of the kindness of people just like you.
  • 00:25:22.140 --> 00:25:25.270
  • To support this international life-changing ministry,
  • 00:25:25.280 --> 00:25:29.010
  • please call us now at 800-253-3000.
  • 00:25:29.020 --> 00:25:33.090
  • You can send your tax-deductible gift
  • 00:25:33.100 --> 00:25:34.240
  • to the address on your screen,
  • 00:25:34.250 --> 00:25:36.050
  • or you can visit us online at itiswritten.com.
  • 00:25:36.060 --> 00:25:40.050
  • Thank you for your prayers and for your financial support.
  • 00:25:40.060 --> 00:25:42.280
  • Our number again is 800-253-3000,
  • 00:25:42.290 --> 00:25:47.050
  • or you can visit us online at itiswritten.com.
  • 00:25:47.060 --> 00:25:50.060
  • -John Bradshaw: Let me pray with you now.
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  • Father in heaven, we thank You in Jesus' name
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  • that You are a God of great forgiveness.
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  • We thank You for the gift of forgiveness that You give to us.
  • 00:25:57.080 --> 00:25:59.280
  • I ask that right now as someone is wrestling with a choice
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  • to forgive or otherwise, impress that heart to forgive.
  • 00:26:03.160 --> 00:26:07.030
  • Show that person the healthy way forward.
  • 00:26:07.040 --> 00:26:09.240
  • Friend, is that you?
  • 00:26:09.250 --> 00:26:10.260
  • Would you open your heart up to God now and say,
  • 00:26:10.270 --> 00:26:12.150
  • "God, give me that grace to forgive another,"
  • 00:26:12.160 --> 00:26:14.060
  • or "God, I choose to forgive"?
  • 00:26:14.070 --> 00:26:16.110
  • You can choose to forgive.
  • 00:26:16.120 --> 00:26:18.080
  • Don't consult your feelings.
  • 00:26:18.090 --> 00:26:20.120
  • Choose to forgive and expect that God will take care
  • 00:26:20.130 --> 00:26:23.050
  • of the feelings in the fullness of time.
  • 00:26:23.060 --> 00:26:25.220
  • Thank You, Lord, that You forgive us,
  • 00:26:25.230 --> 00:26:27.260
  • that Your forgiveness is full and free.
  • 00:26:27.270 --> 00:26:30.280
  • Give in our lives the ability to forgive others.
  • 00:26:30.290 --> 00:26:35.240
  • We pray, we thank You, we claim it,
  • 00:26:35.250 --> 00:26:38.060
  • and we believe, in Jesus' name.
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  • Amen.
  • 00:26:41.210 --> 00:26:43.010
  • Thanks so much for joining me.
  • 00:26:43.020 --> 00:26:44.120
  • Looking forward to seeing you again next time.
  • 00:26:44.130 --> 00:26:46.010
  • Until then, remember:
  • 00:26:46.020 --> 00:26:48.070
  • "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone,
  • 00:26:48.080 --> 00:26:51.200
  • but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
  • 00:26:51.210 --> 00:26:56.250
  • [theme music]
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