The Power of Forgiveness


The year was 1956. Jim Elliot and four other missionaries and their young wives and children traveled to the jungles of Ecuador in attempt to reach the Waodani people with the practical love of the gospel. Nothing meant more to Elliott who is quoted as saying,

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” (See Luke 9:24)


After much difficulty, the young men established a sense of trust among the Waodani. But due to a lie told in the village about the men, the trust was wrongly broken and a group of Waodani warriors went to the river and speared all five of the men who had come to help them. The Waodani had no word in their language for forgiveness. They only knew revenge and their revenge only knew death.


Put yourself in the place of the young widows whose families were torn apart by this meaningless act of violence. Act justly? What does that mean? Who would blame them if they called in the State Department to make this people pay the price for their unwarranted aggression? Love mercy and return home to try to forgive and carry on the best they could? Walk humbly before God no matter what He called them to do?


What they did was unfathomable. Could you do it, would you? I couldn’t. At least not in my own power.


But in the supernatural power that their faith in Christ gave them, they walked humbly before their God and returned to the village whose men had killed their husbands. They lived among the people and loved them with the power of forgiveness. And over time, the villagers, even the murderers, came to understand the meaning of love and forgiveness. And they changed their ways. That is the true sign of belief. It leads to a repentance that brings about real change. It doesn’t make us perfect, but it sets us on a new course.


Spending a lifetime learning how to change behaviors, I have never found a force more powerful and transformational than the forgiveness of Jesus, the light of the world. Have you?


2 thoughts on “The Power of Forgiveness

  1. Emily Foval

    No, I haven’t. Being forgiven and saved, being forgiven by others, is the most powerful form of Love I’ve ever experienced. I need to work harder on forgiving others the way he forgave me.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Classica  –  Enter Security Code