WHAT a wealth of hope, tenderness, and compassion lies enfolded in the thought of forgiveness. There is probably no human heart, however seemingly sunk in selfish wrongdoing, that does not have its longing for a forgiveness that would wipe out the unlovely picture of the past and allow a fresh, unsullied start.

The world, as it has with most things, has many differing concepts of forgiveness. Some seek forgiveness from an unknown, undefined God, with little assurance of His disposition to grant it. Others seek it from those who, because they believe themselves to have been unpardonably wronged, often seem unwilling and unable to bestow it. It is sought at a price by those who believe it can be bought and who thus, in a false sense of security, fall an easy prey to the temptation to repeat the offense.

A dictionary definition reads, "Pardon remits the outward penalty which the offender deserves; forgiveness dismisses resentment or displeasure from the heart of the one offended." Generally, however, forgiveness is thought of in the sense of God bestowing pardon on a sinner or of one person forgiving another person who has wronged him. This concept has caused confusion. Many, indeed, must have been the prayers on this basis that seemed to meet with no response, and many the vain struggles on the part of some sincere followers of the master Christian, Christ Jesus, to forgive from this point of view, only to fail because believing themselves inexcusably wronged by another.

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September 2, 1950

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