A: It's easier, of course, to forgive someone who knows they've hurt us and are asking us to forgive them. But life isn't always that easy, and sometimes the whole burden rests on our shoulders.
But that doesn't mean we don't need to forgive them. After all, when someone hurts us we begin carrying a burden - and we need to get rid of it. Imagine it as a heavy basket you carry on your shoulders - a basket filled with all kinds of emotions that weigh you down: anger, hurt, jealousy, a desire for revenge, guilt, bitterness, broken relationships, and so forth.
What will you do with it? You have only two choices: either keep carrying it, or else get rid of it. But what good does it do to keep carrying it? Every object in that basket hurts mainly you, and in fact in time they can destroy you. So what is the best thing to do? The Bible is clear: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice" (Ephesians 4:31).
This only happens as you forgive - whether the other person receives it or not. This becomes possible as we realize how much God has forgiven us. We don't deserve it - but Christ was still willing to give His life for us. The Bible says, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Ephesians 4:32).
Q: My baby sister died when she was only a few months old, so I barely remember her (I was 6). Do you think I'll recognize her when I get to heaven? It may sound strange, but I've always felt lonely without her since I didn't have any other brothers or sisters. - Mrs. J.D.
A: The Bible doesn't answer all our questions about heaven, but we do know this: In heaven, we will be with all of our loved ones who have died in Christ. Because of this, I have every confidence that you will not only recognize your sister, but that she will be complete and whole - as will you.
Whenever I am asked a question like this I think of King David in the Old Testament. He was a godly leader - but as he grew older, he disobeyed God and committed adultery with another man's wife. A child was born of that illicit union - and after he was born he became very sick and died. David grieved for him, of course - but he also had confidence that some day they would be reunited. David said, "Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me" (2 Samuel 12:23).
Some day we will be with God forever if we know Christ - but even now we can turn to Him and know He is with us as our friend. Is your hope and confidence in Him? Make sure of your eternal salvation by opening your heart and life to Christ today.
Then learn to walk with Christ by making His Word, the Bible, part of your life every day, and also coming to Him in prayer, and growing spiritually through your fellowship with other believers. God's promise is true: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
Send your queries to "My Answer,"?c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.