?In 1961 U.S. Representative John Lewis, at the time a civil rights activist and seminary student, was beaten severely at a South Carolina bus stop. Forty-eight years later, Elwin Wilson, the man who beat Lewis, has asked for forgiveness. The apology began with a television interview and was motivated by a deep religious and spiritual experience. Then a TV network made arrangements for Wilson to go to Capitol Hill; so Wilson traveled to Washington, D.C., to personally apologize to Lewis.
Wilson, now 72, said that he was sorry and had tried to block the incident out of his mind but was unable to do so. Lewis readily offered forgiveness, and pictures of the embrace between the two men were shown on TV and in newspapers.
“I was very moved,” said Lewis. “He was very, very sincere, and I think it takes a lot of raw courage to be willing to come forward the way he did. … I think it will lead to a great deal of healing.”
It just goes to show that it is never too late to ask for forgiveness and what a joy it is to receive it. Wilson has paid a price for his public apology. He has received some angry phone calls and letters. Wilson simply hopes that others can give up the hate like he did. Wilson added, “If just one person comes forward and gets the hate out of their heart, it’s all worth it,”

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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?Missy Jenkins has just released an extraordinary book. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, what happened to her probably will. On Dec. 1, 1997, a 14-year-old classmate of Missy’s shot her at school. In the rampage, three students were killed and five were injured. Missy’s injuries caused her to become paralyzed and placed her in a wheel chair. In her book, I Choose to be Happy, she tells of forgiving her attacker. She even met with him personally in prison.
What gave her the courage to forgive? She attributes it to her faith. She believes that the forgiving lead to her healing. In an interview promoting the book, she said of forgiveness, “It released me from being angry. Being angry holds you down. It causes you to be tired. … So I just chose to be happy and move on with my life. I thought it was the best way to help me heal, physically and emotionally.”

 

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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In his very entertaining book, Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand, Ross Pahres tells about a frontier preacher who was preaching against the sin of hatred. He asked anyone who had overcome hatred to stand. One elderly man stood up. The stunned preacher asked, “You don’t hate anybody?” “No sir,” replied the man. The preacher remarked, “That’s a wonderful testimony. Tell us why that is.” The old gentlemen said, with a grin, “All the skunks who done me dirty, all them scoundrels I hated – they’re all dead.” It’s not likely we can lose all our enemies that way. We might actually have to forgive them.

-Michael Shannon, Preaching July/August 2002

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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In the “Flo and Friends” comic, a younger woman is talking to an older man called Mr. O. She asks, “Do you ever hold grudges, Mr. O?” He replies, “Absolutely Not! Never!” The young woman continues, “Yeah, I guess life’s too short, huh?” Mr. O replies, “Naw. I just can’t remember who’s wronged me long enough to hold one.” Whatever our method, or excuse, it is an honorable thing to release a grudge.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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The
Puritan John Owen said: “Our forgiving of others will not procure
forgiveness for ourselves; but our not forgiving others proves that
we ourselves are not forgiven.” And Thomas Watson said: “A man may as
well go to hell for not forgiving as for not believing.”

Quoted in I.D.E. Thomas, The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1977) p. 111-112.

_________________
Brian Hedges is Senior Pastor of Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, MI.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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“Perhaps the best caricature of the power of
resentment was penned by the author Charles Dickens in his novel
Great Expectations.
There we meet the immortal character Miss Havisham, jilted at the
altar many years before. Long ago, she was dressing for her wedding,
waiting for the hour of nine when her groom would arrive and the
blessed event would begin. The immense wedding cake, along with a
sumptuous feast, lay in wait. At precisely ten minutes before nine, a
message arrived. The groom would not be coming; he had run away with
another woman.

At that moment, time had
ceased to move forward in the mansion of Miss Havisham. Every clock
in the house registered ten minutes to nine from that day on. Neither
did old Miss Havisham’s wardrobe ever change: she still wore the
wedding dress and the veil, now faded, yellowed with age and
tattered. The windows of the ruined mansion stayed heavily draped so
that sunshine might never enter.

For decades
the cake and the feast had rotted on the tables, mostly carried off
by rats and spiders. The rats could be heard behind the wall panels.
‘Sharper teeth than those of the rats have been gnawing on me,’ said
Miss Havisham. And of course she was right. The teeth of resentment
cut sharp and deep, and can lay waste to the life that God designed
as a feast and a celebration of abundant living.”

As told in David Jeremiah, Slaying the Giants in Your Life (Nashville, TN.: W Publishing Group, 2001) p. 121.

_________________

Brian Hedges is Senior Pastor of Fulkerson Park Baptist Church in Niles, MI.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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John Killinger tells the story of a strange custom among the Jivaro tribe in Ecuador.
Every night, when tribe members tuck their children into bed, they
whisper in their ears the names of people they must hate when they
get older. In that way they keep their grudges and feuds alive for
the next generation. Wouldn’t it be better if we whispered words of
forgiveness?

_______________
J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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A
story is told of two friends who were walking through the desert. During some
point of the journey they had an argument, and one friend slapped the other
one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, but without saying anything,
wrote in the sand “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.” They kept on
walking until they found an oasis, where they decided to take a bath. The one
who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but the friend
saved him. After he recovered from the near drowning, he wrote on a stone “TODAY
MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.”

The
friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you,
you wrote in the sand and now, you write on a stone, why?” The other friend
replied “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where winds of
forgiveness can erase it away. But, when someone does something good for us,
we must engrave it in stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

_______________

J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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During
the Civil War unusual punishments were sometimes administered to keep the men
in line.  Some involved physical discomfort and others humiliation.  According
to Webb Garrison in his book, The Amazing Civil War, a common punishment
was to be branded.  For instance a deserter would be marked with a ”D” on his
shoulder, chest or back.  Thieves might be marked with a “T” and a coward marked
with a “C.”  There were even some who were branded “W” for worthless.  As Christians
we are grateful that God does not mark us permanently for our sins.  A coward
or thief is not regarded as one forever, and no one is worthless.  This is because
of Christ, Who took our punishment for us.

_______________

J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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On
Sunday, July 11th there was a strange historical re-enactment in Weehawken, New
Jersey. This marked the 200th anniversary of the famous duel between Alexander
Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Hamilton and Burr had been friends, but later became
bitter political enemies. Hamilton had been a signer of the constitution and was
the nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Burr was the sitting Vice-President. As
a matter of honor they met for a duel in which Hamilton was mortally wounded.
The reenactment was performed by Douglas Hamilton fifth great grandson of Alexander
Hamilton, and Antonio Burr, a direct descendant of Burr’s cousin. According to
an Associated Press account, Hamilton said of meeting the relative of Burr, “It
wasn’t something on my top 100 list, but it was nice to meet Antonio Burr. He
seems to be a very nice man, though I’m not sure I’m going to be on his Christmas
card list.” Hamilton went on to remind listeners his ancestor forgave Burr.
“Just being shot 31 hours earlier, if he could forgive Burr, far be it for
me not to honor that.” There is something noble in forgiveness. As we think
of that day in 1804, we can only wish the forgiveness could have happened before
the shots were fired.

_______________

J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley, “I never forgive and I never forget.” To which Wesley responded, “Then Sir, I hope you never sin.” Very apt, for when we reflect on how much God has forgiven us, it makes our own little grudges against others seem rather petty.

 

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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Sacred Stream

Dr. Jacob Chamberlain, an early missionary to India recalls that while preaching to a group who had come to bathe in the “sacred stream” of the Ganges, a man joined them who had crawled many agonizing miles on his knees and elbows to reach that spot. The poor exhausted soul made his prayer to Gunga, and then slipped into the water but emerged with the same conviction as before. The fear of death still tugged at his heart. Then he heard Chamberlain tell the wonderful story of grace and how Christ died on the cross to rescue needy sinners. With new hope the man staggered to his feet, clasped his hands together and cried, “Oh, that’s what I need! Forgiveness and peace!” The missionary soon led him to Jesus.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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Human Enjoined

When Joseph’s brothers came before him in Egypt asking for food, he faced a stiff test. Years before, they had threatened to kill him. Then they sold him into slavery. But Joseph forgave them. Even after their father Jacob died and they feared Joseph might take revenge, he assured them of his complete forgiveness.

Chuck Swindoll reports that a seminary student in Chicago faced a similar forgiveness test. Although he preferred to work in some kind of ministry, the only job he could find was driving a bus on Chicago’s south side. One day a gang of tough teens got on board and refused to pay the fare. After a few days of this, the seminarian spotted a policeman on the corner, stopped the bus and reported them. The officer made them pay, but then he got off. When the bus rounded a corner, the gang robbed the seminarian and beat him severely. He pressed charges and the gang was rounded up. They were found guilty. But as soon as the jail sentences were given the young Christian saw their spiritual need and felt pity for them. So he asked the judge if he could serve their sentences for them. The gang members and the judge were dumbfounded. “It’s because I forgive you,” he explained. His request was denied but he visited the young men in jail and led several of them to faith in Christ.

Has someone wronged you? Are you harboring a grudge because of some real or imagined hurt? If so, it may be time for the forgiveness test.

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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David Jeremiah points out that in November 2002, “Detroit Schools Chief Executive Kenneth Burnley showed up at Southeastern High School with an announcement. Showing the students $100, he read a letter from an anonymous graduate of Southeastern’s class of 1947. The man had sent the money as reimbursement for stealing some Hershey bars from the lunchroom 55 years ago. The man wrote, ‘I am a retired professional who has been highly respected in my life. I have certainly been guilty of much greater offenses over the years, but that basic breach of trust has remained in the back of my mind.’

“We all have regrets, we often need to apologize to others, and we all need pardon. But we must remember that when God forgives, He forgives wholly. Psalm 130 says: ‘If you, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared’ (vv. 3-4).

“‘I know God has forgiven me,’ someone says, ‘yet I can’t seem to forgive myself.’ But when we accept the forgiveness of Almighty God, He does away with all the guilt. It vanishes, as far as the east is from the west. He washes us clean. If we still struggle with guilt, we need to revisit the forgiveness of Him who promised to wash us whiter than snow.”

(from Turning Point Daily Devotional, 3/19/03)

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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In his very entertaining book, Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand, Ross Pahres tells
about a frontier preacher who was preaching against the sin of hatred. He asked
anyone who had overcome hatred to stand. One elderly man stood up. The stunned
preacher asked, “You don’t hate anybody?” “No sir,” replied
the man. The preacher remarked, “That’s a wonderful testimony. Tell us why
that is.” The old gentlemen said, with a grin, “All the skunks who
done me dirty, all them scoundrels I hated — they’re all dead.” It’s not
likely we can lose all our enemies that way. We might actually have to forgive
them.

___________________________

Illustration by J. Michael Shannon, Professor of Preaching, Cincinnati Bible
College & Seminary, Cincinnati, OH.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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“To forgive is to set the prisoner free, and then discover the prisoner was you.”

(source unknown)

 

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A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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