Read (from the New Living Translation)

Romans 12:20

20 Instead,

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Go Deep

Bart Millard from MercyMe grew up in an abusive home. He knows what it’s like to struggle with reconciliation and forgiveness. He tells his story and shares how God has taught him to respond throughout his journey to forgiveness.

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36 comments
  1. Profile photo of Jennie

    Thank you for your amazing testimony and your encouraging message!

  2. Profile photo of bwilliams38

    Thank you for this lesson. Being from the south I was taught by my grandmother who raised me to always be polite whether or not the other person was. I have often used the term “kill them with kindness” for this. It has become easy enough to do this with strangers or people I see through my job. What I needed to hear was that I need to do this with people that are actually part of my life. It also helps me to let go of the anger of being treated rudely. Thank you for helping to realize this.

  3. Sally

    Wow, this message is SO basic yet God has shown me that I am still finding myself in situations where I am being stubborn about forgiveness!! Praise Him for His mercy and kindness to me and showing me my sin!

    • Profile photo of Pastor Dave WAY-FM

      Yes, Sally, I am standing with you. Hearing other people’s vulnerability has been God’s gift to me so that I will live in His Grace to all!

  4. Profile photo of Trevor Poling

    God is good. Jesus bore our shame and sin when he was beaten and scorned. We must do the same. Thanks for sharing.

    • Profile photo of Pastor Dave WAY-FM

      What a week to remember that Truth, Trevor. Thanks be to God for His Indescribable Gift!

      • Sue

        Thank you, KJ. So insightful and I needed to hear this today. I put it in my journal to e able to reread it. Powerful

  5. KJ

    It even adds a more difficult dimension when the person you are forgiving hasnt changed, isnt sorry, and doesnt think they did anything that needs forgiveness. Then, they repeatedly hurt you, and you have to repeatedly forgive. Many have no shame & will not feel quilt no matter how kind you are to them. Its easy for others to say “just cut them out of your life & walk away” but that isnt always possible. Maybe its a sibling, child, or spouse you live with daily and you cant just walk away. Sometimes, I think we are there to stay and fight for them, even if they dont want or appreciate it in the moment.

    • Profile photo of Pastor Dave WAY-FM

      You have great courage & great obedience, KJ. God knows what we do in His Name & He is blessed. Praying for you!

    • Teepee

      I am praying for you, too, KJ. As you daily make that choice to “recklessly” forgive, God will give you the strength and power to do so. Like many have stated in this study, it is a process. A process worth doing. A huge burden will be lifted from you and you will know it was God! All for His glory!

  6. Lisa Smith Aly (Greenville Tx)

    Awesome! Thank you Bart! Love your song Even If and looking forward to seeing the movie about your life when it comes out.

  7. Carol Douglas

    Love this… My dad was physically abusive to my older mentally handicapped brother and verbally abusive to the rest of us. Before he died, I forgave him and told him that I loved him. I reconciled myself to the fact that he probably didn’t see that he was doing anything wrong.

    • Profile photo of Pastor Dave WAY-FM

      You remind us, Carol, that obedience has no regrets. So glad that you are freed from bitterness. I pray that your brother sees your great love of God very clearly.

  8. Profile photo of Chowchowma

    It’s a beautiful thing to be loved with kindness.

  9. Profile photo of Big Country

    Great testimony! It’s so true to treat our enemies with kindness! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Cody Deno

    I’ve heard the expression “kill em with kindness” before, but Bart’s message today gave that expression life and helped me understand it more.
    I hope that when people wrong me in the future I will remember that expression and apply it.

  11. Paula Slack

    Powerful Bart and so happy that you and your father were able to have a relationship before he left this world. You shall surely see him again in heaven one day.
    My mom left me when I was 2, came to meet me at age 14 as a ‘friend of my mother’ and again at 16 to sign me out of foster care. I tried for years to win her approval to no vail. We lasted 6 Mos together before she slapped me one day for standing up to her husband on her behalf and be told I was selfish and put me back in foster care to finish HS.
    We’ve always had a strange relationship since. Forgiveness has been tough, and many years in the making. I honestly have to day, I have to do it over and over again when someone wants to talk about their Mom or I have to discuss her. I think I have forgiven and then all this anger, hurt, and pain and disappointment come up and I find myself going to God to ask for help in forgiving her over and over.
    So it is a process and sometimes you gave to do it over and over. It’s taken me 30 years plus to figure this out. Same goes for men I dated that beat and abused me. I always chose the wrong ones. But if I want God to forgive me, and I do, I have to show that same grace. He didn’t say it would be easy, just that we had to do it if we wanted the same from him. I’m still a work in progress. Sometimes it comes easy, other times I feel like I’m back at square one.

    • Teepee

      Paula, I pray that the Lord will reveal Himself to you in a Mighty way so that you will know He is all you really need. He rescued me from a broken and abusive marriage. Whenever I even contemplated returning to him, God would speak to me through His Word(1Cor 15:58). “Stand firm, let nothing move you.”
      Ultimately, the verse that I still live by today and will continue to hold to is Isaiah 54:4-5, ” Do not be afraid, you will not suffer shame. Do not fear, you will not be humiliated. For your Maker is your husband the Lord Almighty is his name.”
      Because He has proven Himself to me and I know He loves and cares for me I have found contentment and He has given me the strength to forgive my former husband and even allow him into my new home when we have family events.
      He is all you need. Praying for you.

      • Profile photo of Pastor Dave WAY-FM

        It’s always good to stand on Scripture, God’s Righteous Truth. These are great ones … thanks Teepee!

    • Anonymous

      You’re making progress even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. I’m sure God is proud of you for continuing to forgive as much as you can. Don’t feel guilty..God will continue help you day by day. Your heart is right about the situation and that’s what’s most important to Him. He doesn’t expect perfection..just a willingness to try. Have a great day!

    • Profile photo of Pastor Dave WAY-FM

      Paula, how wonderful that you know the healing hand of our Savior through all this pain. Praying for your days/years ahead to be full of renewed strength, wisdom, & joy.

  12. Keri

    Thank you for sharing! I definitely needed this!

  13. Naomi

    So glad you are so willing to talk about your own personal experience in being abused and your testimony to forgive.

  14. Anonymous

    Thank you Bart for sharing. It was something I needed to hear. I’m in a place where my relationship with my sister is fractured. Shes chosen addiction over her family. Her husband divorced her recently and our relationship is damaged too. I like that you said..we may not have a perfect relationship from now on. Its the consequence of bad choices. But I can always work on forgiving even though I can’t be as close as I use to which is painful. Forgiving doesn’t mean we should allow people to abuse us. It helps us to move on and allows them to move on knowing that God has control over the situation, and still have love for that person. I’ve been wondering where the line is with forgiving and how much to allow that person back in to my life. I guess I had guilt that somehow I need to be just as open with them as before…but that’s not the case. I will forgive and pray for them and treat them with love but won’t let them continue to walk all over me like its their right. Thanks for the insight! And Thanks to Way FM for the World’s biggest small group.

    • Teepee

      Yes, anonymous. Malachi 2:14 tells us that God stands as a witness between me and my abuser. My pastor showed me this verse when I was focusing on v.16. He also told me that He loves me and my former husband much more than He hates divorce.
      Praise God! He has freed me to live more closely to Him. I am free to forgive him. Free to serve Him. Free to be who He created me to be as long as I keep my eyes on Him.
      Praying for you and your family.

    • Profile photo of Pastor Dave WAY-FM

      Wise words! God truly gives us His great wisdom even through difficult bruises & harm. I’m glad He has proven Himself faithful to you, anon.

  15. ANONYMOUS

    VERY POWERFUL MESSAGE….ITS BEEN TWO WEEKS SINCE MY CO-WORKER AND I GOT INTO THIS BIG ARGUMENT AT THE OFFICE…..SHE REFUSES TO TALK TO ME ..I HAVE TRIED TO FIX THE RELATIONSHIP BUT SHE SAYS SHE HAS NOTHING TO TALK WITH ME…SO…EVEN IF SHE WONT TALK TO ME…I TALK TO HER…..!!!!! I AM NOT THE PERSON SHE THINKS I AM….I TRY TO BE THE PERSON GOD WANTS ME TO BE!!!! I HAVE FORGIVING HER….EVEN IF SHE DIDNT COME TO ME….I FORGAVE HER BECAUSE THAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!!!!! I WANT TO LOVE PEOPLE THE WAY MY GOD LOVES ME!!!!!

  16. Profile photo of CarrieAnn71272

    Sooo LOVE MeryMe and the song Even If!! “I know your able, I know you can save through the fire with your mighty hand, but even if you dont, my hope is in you alone.”
    Those words have grown me so much closer to God this spring. After 19 surgeries to try and keep my body going I cry out in disapointment, frustration and sometimes anger in conversation with God. While my shell hear on Earth is very broken and extremely painful, I know God is growing and healing my heart and soul. He is making me new every day in all this pain and all my struggles…and even if He doesn’t save with His mighty hands my body…He is saving my soul. It is well with my soul!!

  17. Pamela Anne McCoy

    You are so right about forgiving people who have hurt you. I have struggled with this with my dad but God is doing a miraculous work in our relationship and even though it’s not a good one right now, we are on the right track to forgiving and working on building that trust again.

  18. Tina Ledbetter

    Amazing testimony of forgiveness. When someone hurts you in that manner, such as abuse, it is such a hard thing to forgive. I was in an abusive marriage for 12 years and it was very hard to forgive him for not only the physical pain but the emotional pain. It is such a freedom to have forgiven him for all of it. I had to sit down and tell myself God forgives you so you should forgive him. Like I said it was such a freeing moment in my life that I could not have done without God.

  19. Sheri George

    Bart, you are so correct! My mom always taught me to be nice to those that have “done you wrong.” It will make them think about what they did and possibly be nice to you! That’s a simplified version of your message, but so true. You are an inspiration to me, fellow Texan. Thank you so much for your words and your fabulous music! God Bless!