George Washington and Peter Miller were classmates and both were fast friends. Time changed the course of their lives and took them on different paths. George Washington became the President of America and Peter Miller became a preacher.
Now, Peter Miller had an enemy by the name of Michael Whitman. It often happens that there are some people who love to throw obstacles in the path of good work. As if possessed by a demon, they try to bring down good people. For 20 long years, Michael harassed Peter.
Michael had been involved in the war of American independence and had been pronounced a traitor. He was sentenced to death and sent to the gallows. His only chance at survival was to ask for a reprieve by appealing to the head of the State. Unfortunately, he had no one to plead his case.
Despite having always been harassed and ill-treated by Michael, Peter felt compassion for him. He knew that the death sentence could be revoked only by the president of the country, who happened to be George Washington. president’s office was 70 miles away from Peter’s residence. He had no means of transport, so he walked the entire distance to request that president repeal Michael’s death sentence.
George Washington was very happy to meet his friend Peter. “Tell me, what can I do for you?” he asked, after exchanging pleasantries and welcoming him affectionately.
Peter replied, “George, for the sake of our friendship, you will have to do me a favour. I know you love me a lot. It is this love which makes me plead for revoking the death sentence of Michael Whitman.”
George Washington was surprised. “Peter, how can I forgive a traitor? He has committed a great crime! I am sorry. I cannot help your friend. Michael will have to suffer capital punishment. It is impossible for me to forgive him.”
Peter persisted, “You are mistaken. Michael is not my friend. He has been my enemy for the last 20 years. He has always opposed every venture that I have undertaken.”
“Then forget all about it,” Washington said. “The question of forgiving him does not arise, since he is your worst enemy.”
Peter apprised George about the various ways in which Michael had harassed him. In spite of all that, Peter said, that he had walked 70 miles especially to appeal for him.
Listening to him, the president was moved. He said, “If you can forgive your worst enemy and plead his case, it is the Almighty Lord who Himself is pleading for Michael’s forgiveness. I will agree to your request and repeal the death sentence, for it requires herculean inner strength and utmost compassion to love your enemies and forgive those who have ill-treated you.”
It feels impossible to help, to love a person who ill-treats and reviles us. But though he may hate us, let us aid him in the time of trial, speak kindly of him and return good for evil.