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'Forgiveness' Categories

Second Chances

One of the reasons for America’s prosperity is bankruptcy—according to British-born financial historian Niall Ferguson, who teaches at Harvard.

In his book The Ascent of Money, he points out that "There were no debtors’ prisons in the United States in the early 1800s" when English debtors could languish in jail for years. And how "Since 1898, it has been every American’s right to file for Chapter VII (liquidation) or XIII (voluntary personal reorganization)." A right Americans have used: "there are between one and two million bankruptcy cases every year in the United States."

How has this led to America’s prosperity? It has given people a chance to start over. Ferguson writes: "The ability to walk away from unsustainable debts and start all over again is one of the distinctive quirks of American capitalism…The theory is that American law exists to encourage entrepreneurship—to facilitate the creation of new businesses. And that means giving people a break when their plans go wrong…"

At first glance it seems to have worked. He cites ketchup king John Henry Heinz, circus man Phineas Barnum, and automobile magnate Henry Ford as examples of the many businessmen who failed at early endeavors to become successful later on.

People need second chances. People need forgiveness.

Suggested applications:

  • God offers forgiveness to all who ask for it. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
  • God is a God of second chances. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

    Reference: Niall Ferguson, The Ascent of Money (The Penguin Press, 2008), pp. 59-61

  • Paying for Forgiveness

    The premise of Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic The Canterbury Tales is that a group of people have come together at an inn outside London to go on a religious pilgrimage. They decide that on their way they’ll take t... [Read More]

    Reference: Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, (Barnes & Noble Classics, 2007), p. 515, 517

    Capital Punishment?

    Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the woman summoned for jury duty, who said to the Judge, "Your Honor, I can't serve on a jury. I don't believe in capital punishment."

    The judge said, "Ma'am, this ... [Read More]

    Spell a Word

    Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the woman who, after a long illness, died and arrived at the gates of heaven. She looked through the gates and saw the streets of gold and a beautiful banquet table with her friends a... [Read More]


    The story is told of a king who visited the inhabitants of a prison one day. He talked to a man accused of murder. "I’m innocent," the man said. "They arrested the wrong person." He talked to anoth... [Read More]


    A 2004 Readers Digest article, "The Power of Forgiving," told about a study at Hope College in Michigan. In 2001, psychologist Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, Ph.D., hooked 71 college men and women to sen... [Read More]

    Corrie ten Boom Forgives S.S. Guard

    The story of Holland’s Corrie ten Boom demonstrates how forgiving others sets us free. Corrie was arrested along with her family for hiding Jews from the Nazis during World War II. She was sent with her sister to a co... [Read More]

    Reference: Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill, The Hiding Place (Bantam, 1974), p. 238

    Set Yourself Free

    Pastor Bill Ray, in his book Answered Prayer: The Jesus Plan, tells the story of an energetic senior citizen named Betty, whom he described as one of the happiest members of his church, though she had no right ... [Read More]

    Reference: William Ray, Answered Prayer: The Jesus Plan (Ambassador International, 2015), pp. 97-98