forgiveness and evangelization
"He led them out and said, 'Men, what must I do to be saved?' Their answer was, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, and all your household.' " —Acts 16:30-31
Paul and Silas were stripped, flogged, and thrown into prison (Acts 16:22-23). The jailer "put them in maximum security, going so far as to chain their feet to a stake" (Acts 16:24). Later, this jailer was about to commit suicide because he thought his prisoners had escaped (Acts 16:27), "but Paul shouted to him: 'Do not harm yourself! We are all still here" (Acts 16:28). Then Paul and Silas led this jailer and his family to faith in Jesus, and baptized the jailer and his whole household (Acts 16:33). Would you go out of your way to save the life and soul of the person who put you into maximum security and chained your feet to a stake as if you were an animal?
Paul and Silas were great evangelists because they forgave those who beat, hurt, and persecuted them. Great evangelists are not always great speakers, but they are always great forgivers. They imitate Jesus, Who asked the Father to forgive those continuing to torture Him on the cross (Lk 23:34).
Forgiveness is the heart of the good news. Forgiveness opens hearts to the good news. When we accept the grace to love and forgive our enemies, our enemies will become our brothers and sisters. Forgive and evangelize!
Prayer: Father, I forgive, love, and evangelize my most bitter enemy.
Promise: "When (the Holy Spirit) comes, He will prove the world wrong about sin, about justice, about condemnation." —Jn 16:8
Praise: Julia, a Jewish Christian, happened to meet the German soldier who had tortured her years before in the concentration camps. She forgave him and cooked a meal for him. He was so astonished that he readily gave his life to Jesus shortly afterward.
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 9, 1996
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, November 15, 1996