But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
— Luke 6:35
Georges Clemenceau was twice the prime minister of France, and played a major role in the treaties that concluded WWI. At the Paris Peace Conference, Clemenceau was on his way to a meeting with President Woodrow Wilson’s adviser when he was shot at by a young anarchist named Emile Cottin.
As Clemenceau’s car sped away, Cottin fired at least six more shots, one of which struck Clemenceau near his heart. Clemenceau very narrowly avoided death. But after Cottin was captured and the death penalty was demanded, Clemenceau asked for leniency, recommending eight years in prison “with intensive training in a shooting gallery.”
It was a little good humor, at a time which could’ve been filled with bitterness and hatred, that showed Clemenceau wasn’t holding a grudge against his attacker. And while most people won’t ever face someone who wants to kill them, they find it so difficult to have that same kind of attitude of forgiveness.
In life, people are going to let you down and disappoint you. They are going to say bad things about you and insult you to your face. Yet how you respond to those who treat you that way says much about your relationship with your heavenly Father. So instead of harboring bitterness, forgive and show mercy to those who wrong you. It’s the best payback you can have!
Ask God to give you strength when others insult you. Pray He’ll help you show them mercy instead of harboring bitterness.
Questions for Thought
Why do you think it’s so difficult to show forgiveness and mercy to those who wrong us?
Think back to a time when you received unmerited forgiveness for something you did wrong. How did that make you feel?