When Jesus was dying on the cross he was being assaulted and harassed by the same people who out him there. And what did Jesus say about those people? Jesus said father please forgive them they do not know what they are doing. Jesus forgave the people who beat him and mocked him and put him to death. Jesus basically gave what I call the ultimate forgiveness the very act of loving your neighbor which was his greatest commandment. Today I would like to share with you a story that describes this ultimate forgiveness.

In 1993 Mary Johnson had a son named Laramiun Byrd who was angrily killed by a man named Oshea Israel. Mary Johnson became very angry with this man and wanted him caged like the animal she said he was. Oshea Israel was tried as an adult and sentence to 25 years in prison.

17 years later Oshea Israel was released from prison. Since then Mary Johnson has forgiven Oshea Israel for the murder of her son. Oshea Israel now lives next door to Mary Johnson. Oshea Israel works at a recycling plant and goes to college. Oshea Israel says he wants to repay back his debts by contributing to society. Oshea Israel sings praises of forgiveness at prisons and churches to large audiences everywhere.

Unfortunately today most Christians do not want to give this type of forgiveness they only want vengeance. Many Christians today live by an eye for an eye. But Jesus said turn the other cheek and to forgive those that do evil to you and to overcome your enemies with love.



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It seems to me that Ms. Johnson's forgiveness of her child's murderer rises above even Jesus's forgiveness of his own tormentors.

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