Cost of Forgivness
following is the continuing story of the
daughter of one of Charles' victims, who
forgave him while on a visit in prison.
The first part of this miraculous story
Miracle of Forgiveness.
Suzan's parents were murdered
in the summer of 1969. Even though she understood
the victim's plight, she never allowed others
to cast her into that roll. Rather, she
chose to remain open-minded, not knowing
what the future held. Then, eighteen years
later, she took the bold step of forgiving
me, even after I had committed such a horrible
crime against her.
Our Coming Together
We had both committed our
lives to Christ, but still she never told
me during our correspondence that it was
her parents that I had killed. She wanted
to get to know me without the pressure that
revealing her identity would have created.
A year later, she visited
me in prison. We shared with one another
about our relationship with Jesus Christ
and about our pasts. When our paths seemed
to cross, she revealed to me who her mother
and stepfather were, and since that glorious
moment, our lives have never been the same.
After months of not telling
anyone but close friends, we finally told
our story. I feared that someone would try
to destroy what God had done. My fears came
true. Her loving act has since been ridiculed
and exploited in a variety of ways.
But still, I never fully
realized how forgiveness would be mocked
and hated by the world, much less the persecution
that would follow and the great strides
by man to stifle our testimony.
Suzan began to stand up
for what Christ had done in both of our
lives. We began to mature spiritually in
new areas as we wrote back and forth. Suzan's
courage freed her as new healing took place.
I began to realize more fully the pain and
destruction that I had caused in the lives
of so many. Healings took place that could
never have happened in any other way.
God's Goodness Defamed
As the healing bore fruit,
the enemy continued to raise up its ugly
head to scandalize God's goodness. Suzan's
landlord and employer were called by someone
spreading lies, saying she was involved
in the Manson cult. The same enemy claimed
that Suzan knew me during the time of the
crime, as if some plot was taking place.
In the days to come, her family would be
plagued in many ways. This persecution on
her life continues to this day.
My folks were harassed
in their small Texas hometown as the enemy
spread lies through the local paper, tabloids,
and a slanderous book. Not only my folks,
but my brother, childhood friends, and loved
ones were harassed as well.
The persecution did not
let up. My wife and children were harassed
by profiteers from out of town, the tabloid
talk show types who dispense filthy trash
that God hates.
Eventually, we were turned
in to a local law enforcement agency. As
a result, our home was raided in the early
morning hours by the swat team, cameras
running, with a search warrant filled with
An investigation fully
cleared us and the ministry from any and
all wrongdoing. It was a scheme by the enemy
to harass our family, to stir-up publicity
from coast to coast in order to promote
a book defaming Suzan, myself, our families,
and what the Lord was doing in our lives.
Reasons for Persecution
Why would the enemy inspire
individuals to do such a thing? There are
several reasons; bitterness, hatred, resentment,
vengeance, retaliation, fame, money, justice,
politics, just to name a few. Simply put,
to steal, to kill, and to destroy, which
the enemy has been up to since the beginning
Jesus came to give life
and life more abundantly. Suzan, myself,
our families, and many of our friends have
experienced this abundant life, and the
devil hates it.
Forgiveness is born of
our love and concern for the well-being
of others, all stemming from God's love
for us, for "God is love" (1 John
4:16). It is a choice freely made. It is
a gift we can give or withhold. And we can
reject it when it is offered to us.
Some Great Results
Tremendous growth has come
as a result of forgiveness. Not only growth
from the act of forgiveness, but growth
from the persecution. It has been a time
of self-examination, purging, and a cleansing
from several shortcomings. We can be legal
by world standards, but there are always
areas that do not meet God's standard.
Jesus says, "Love
your enemies, bless them that curse you,
do good to them that hate you, and pray
for them which despitefully use you, and
persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
During the time of persecution,
at all costs, we are to be obedient to God's
word. For us, it has been a time of understanding
and prayer for our enemies, trying to walk
in their shoes. Our sympathy is great for
the victims, but we can see that retaliation
is not healthy for anyone.
As a result of the attack,
new friends have decided to walk with us
in the fire. Many have voiced the desire
to be part of the work that God is doing
to reach the world with the message of forgiveness.
Surely, what the enemy thought to be evil,
God meant it for good (Genesis 50:20).
Forgiveness Is A Must
Like Suzan, maybe you have
someone in your life who you desperately
need to forgive. Someone who has hurt you
tremendously and caused much pain and grief
in your life.
Yes, forgiveness is difficult,
much more difficult than this message reveals.
But as we walk in the Spirit, forgiveness
is possible because of the Cross of Calvary,
the blood of Jesus Christ, and our resurrected
Forgiveness, like most
virtues, is learned in the home. Because
forgiveness shows the divine life within
us, it is an act of faith.
Forgiveness Takes Time
A deep wound seldom heals
overnight, even where the desire to forgive
is present. It took Suzan years to take
that step. It takes time to heal. Some of
my deepest healing did not begin until Suzan
took that step.
Forgiveness consoles and
heals not just one person, but two, and
sometimes more. It is a human need. There
are times we all need to be forgiven.
Forgiveness shows courage,
frees us from bondage, and gives us greater
hope to look ahead for the return of Jesus
Christ. We all need forgiveness, and sometimes,
we even need to forgive ourselves.
We must recognize that
God has forgiven us, and given us the ability
to forgive. Without the knowledge of Christ,
Suzan would not have been able to forgive,
and this message of forgiveness would not
be available for God to use through us today.
Take Forgiveness Forward
Will you make God's message
available to others through your life?
Jesus wanted His followers
to "Be merciful, even as your Father
He told them that if they
went to pray and remembered a grudge they
held, they should leave their gift at the
altar and be reconciled first (Matthew 5:23).
It doesn't cost nearly
as much for you to forgive someone as it
cost our Heavenly Father and the sacrifice
of His Son on the cross.
And Jesus gave us His example
when He forgave those who had put Him on
the cross (Luke 23:24). Forgiveness in difficult
circumstances still finds its echo today.
Forgiveness From Above
Most of all, Jesus reflects
forgiveness, and the same Spirit that made
it possible for Jesus to go to the Cross,
now lives in the believer, reflecting Him.
As you can see, forgiveness
flows from one to another, the direction
depending on your need. That is, if you
are forgiving someone or the one being forgiven.
Forgiveness demands that
the acknowledgment of guilt, to God or to
others, be accompanied by an expression
of sorrow and an effort to make amends whenever
We are assured of God's
forgiveness. It was for this that Jesus
came. As Paul observed, "...that while
we still were sinners Christ died for us"
(Romans 5:8). Old Testament writers also
believed in God's forgiveness, "As
far as the east is from the west, so far
has He put our transgressions from us"
"Let all bitterness
and wrath and anger and clamor and slander
be put away from you, with all malice, and
be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving
one another, as God in Christ forgave you"
Prayer of Forgiveness
Dear Heavenly Father: I
thank You for the riches of your kindness,
forbearance, and patience, knowing that
your kindness has led me to repentance (Romans
I confess that I have not
extended that same patience and kindness
toward others who have offended me, but
instead I have harbored bitterness and resentment.
I pray that during this
time of self-examination, You would bring
to mind only those people that I have not
forgiven, in order that I may do so (Matthew
I ask this in the precious
name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (List those
you need to forgive.)
I now confess my sin of
unforgivingness to You, and claim through
the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ my forgiveness
and cleansing. I cancel all ground that
evil spirits have gained through my willful
involvement in this sin. I ask this in the
wonderful Name of my Lord and Savior Jesus