I love stories – true, inspiring accounts of how people overcome adversity. Well, this week I read one humdinger of a story.
This week Greg Laurie of Harvest Ministries recited the story of Melissa Jenkins. On December 1, 1997, about a dozen students were gathered together for their daily prayer meeting at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky. As they closed the prayer, a 14-year-old boy burst in and opened fire on the group. Three of the students died, while five others were seriously wounded. The irony of the situation was that a number of these students had actually befriended this young man.
But in the midst of the tragedy, an amazing, unexplainable story emerged. As 15-year-old Melissa Jenkins lay in the hospital, doctors informed her that she most likely would be a paraplegic for the rest of her life. To a teenager who has their whole life in front of them, this can be devastating. But Melissa had other thoughts at that moment – she wanted to convey a message to the teenage boy who shot her.
Most would expect a message of hate, anger and resentment. Instead, Melissa told the boy who shot her that she forgave him. Only a Christian can do something like that. This is not a natural act in our humanity, but supernatural. That is one of the amazing things about Christians: they have the capacity to forgive people. That’s why forgiveness is unexplainable to so many.
We all, just like Melissa Jenkins—need to learn how to forgive. Scripture talks a lot about it. To say that you are a Christian, but that you refuse to forgive, is a contradiction in terms.
That’s what I like about stories like this … if Melissa can forgive in a situation like this, perhaps there’s hope for me.
Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”