In his At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends, President Dwight Eisenhower tells how he learned to forgive. When he was ten, he became so angry about something that he beat his fists into an old apple tree until they were bleeding. That night his mother came into his bedroom. He was still sobbing into the pillow, and she sat in the rocking chair by the bed and said nothing for a long time. Then she began to talk about anger, quoting Proverbs 16:32: “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
There was little to be gained in hating another person, she told him as she put salve on his injured hands. We only hurt ourselves.
Eisenhower considered that conversation one of the most valuable moments of his life, and it led to his developing a curious habit as an adult. Whenever someone angered him, Eisenhower would write the person’s name on a piece of scrap paper, drop it into the lowest drawer of his desk, and say to himself, “That finishes the incident.”
If God has cast our sins behind His back into the sea of forgetfulness, should we not also forgive? There’s nothing to be gained in bitterness. We only hurt ourselves. (Turning Point Daily Devotional, 3-16-04)
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