I have a warm spot in my heart for stories of people who forgave others. Here are three that impress me.
In the 1930s an American missionary family working in Japan decided to move to the Philippines because Japan felt dangerous for westerners. Their daughter Peggy moved back to the US for college, then World War II broke out and Japan invaded the Philippines. The Covells withdrew into the interior but the Japanese found them almost two years later, and executed them as suspected American spies. Peggy heard the news and struggled with bitterness, but realized her mom and dad in their last hours probably prayed to forgive their executioners. How could she do any less?
She volunteered at a prison camp for Japanese prisoners, befriended the prisoners and did many kindnesses for them. When they asked why she was kind to them, she told how her parents had been killed and she wanted to show love, not seek revenge.
Jacob DeShazer was in the US Army Air Corps and volunteered for the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in 1942. His plane crash landed in Japan and he was captured. His anger against the Japanese grew during his time in prison, until he was given a Bible, read it, and gave his life to Christ. He promised God he'd come back to Japan as a missionary after the war if he survived. In 1949 he was back in Japan distributing tracts about how he'd learned to forgive during the war.
The Japanese naval pilot who led the attack on Pearl Harbor lived through the war, then wondered what to do with the rest of his life. A friend of his had been prisoner in the US and known Peggy Covell, and in 1948 he saw DeShazer's pamphlet about forgiving his captors. He began to read the Bible, and saw Jesus' words "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they do" as the inspiration that had moved both Covell and DeShazer. He became a Christian, served as an evangelist, and became good friends with DeShazer.
Peggy Covell: http://www.potsdam-naz.org/sermons/covell.htm
Jacob DeShazer: http://jacobdeshazer.com/
Mitsuo Fuchida: http://www.biblebelievers.com/fuchida1.html
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