Pastor Larson’s Corner: Forgiveness

Pastor Larsons Corner

Sometimes I am surprised by the ability of people to forgive others. For example, I would have never expected to read about how the people of Vietnam no longer harbor any animosity towards Americans. Today, Americans living in Vietnam are amazed by how warmly they are welcomed. David Clark, a retired marine now living there, recently wrote, “For some reason the Vietnamese really like Americans. When they find out you are a veteran they invite you over for supper. The whole village shows up and you are the guest of honor.”

This story reminded me that forgiveness has great power to change things. Forgiveness opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities. Because the people of Vietnam have chosen to forgive us, we will likely see a gradual increase both in travel and trade between our two countries. This kind of cooperation would be impossible without a major change of heart both on the part of the Vietnamese and on our part as well.

On a much less grand scale, the same thing holds true for us as individuals. When we choose to forgive someone from our heart, we open the door to a whole new world of possibilities. Although we may have difficulty forgiving someone for what they have done to hurt us, the benefits of doing so can be enormous. For example, letting go of past hurts frees us up for living in the present. It takes a great deal of energy to continually harbor a grudge. Once you let go and forgive someone you will have new energy for doing more life-giving things. As recipients of God’s great gifts of forgiveness and love we know how life giving it can be to live forgiven. When we share that forgiveness with others we bring a little more light and life into the world around us.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 11, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.