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Ray Stedman tells the story of one man’s explanation for his lack of forgiveness:

He said, “A man once said to me, ‘I know I’m a Christian, but someone once did an awful thing to me – something I just can’t forget or forgive.’

I replied, ‘Are you sure you can’t forgive him?’ He maintained that he had really tried to forgive this man, but was unable to do so. As we continued talking, I said, ‘I know, I have found that we often use the word can’t when what we really mean is won’t. It's possible that what you are saying is not, “I can’t forgive him,’ but ‘I won’t forgive him?’

If it is really true that you cannot forgive this man, then it indicates that you yourself have never been forgiven and you are only kidding yourself about being a Christian.’

This shook him a bit. He thought it through and then, with a rather sheepish grin, he said, ‘I guess you’re right. I guess I won’t.’ It wasn’t long before he came to me and reported with joy that he had finally forgiven the man who had injured him.”

SOURCE: Ray Stedman. Talking With My Father. ( Grand Rapids; Discovery House, 1997) p. 73.

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