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SHOWING FORGIVENESS TO JIM BAKKER


Former televangelist Jim Bakker speaks of events that occurred immediately after his release from prison:


When I was transferred to my last prison, Franklin [Graham] said he wanted to help me out when I got out-with a job, a house to live in, and a car. It was my fifth Christmas in prison. I thought it over and said, "Franklin, you can’t do this. It will hurt you. The Grahams don’t need my baggage." He looked at me and he said, "Jim, you were my friend in the past and you are my friend now. If anyone doesn’t like it, I’m looking for a fight."


So when I got out of prison the Grahams sponsored me and paid for a house for me to live in and gave me a car to drive. The first Sunday out, Ruth Graham called the halfway house I was living in at the Salvation Army and asked permission for me to go to the Montreat Presbyterian Church with her that Sunday morning. When I got there, the pastor welcomed me and sat me with the Graham family. There were like two whole rows of them-I think every Graham aunt and uncle and cousin was there. The organ began playing and the place was full except for a seat next to me. Then the doors opened and in walked Ruth Graham. She walked down that aisle and sat next to inmate 07407-058. I had only been out of prison 48 hours, but she told the world that morning that Jim Bakker was her friend.


Afterwards, she had me up to their cabin for dinner. When she asked me for my addresses, I pulled this envelope out of my pocket to look for them. In prison you’re not allowed to have a wallet, so you just carry an envelope. She asked, "Don’t you have a wallet?" And I said, "Well, yeah, this is my wallet." After five years of brainwashing in prison you think an envelope is a wallet. She walked into the other room and came back and said, "Here’s one of Billy’s wallets. He doesn’t need it. You can have it."


SOURCE: "The Re-education of Jim Bakker," Christianity Today (12-7-98)


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