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God Continues to Move Mightily in Ohio as the Mansfield Mayor Proclaims Global Forgiveness Day

News Staff : Jul 19, 2019  Frontlines Ohio, News Release

"Ephesians 4:32 instructs as to 'Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.' Today in our culture we see family feuds leading to lawsuit and divorce as a result of bitterness of the heart. Forgiveness really ought to play a bigger part in our life." -Reverend Jay Hill of Paradise Free Will Baptist

(Mansfield, OH) — [] Richland County Commissioners recently recognized July 7th as "Global Forgiveness Day" with local clergy. Global Forgiveness Day was birthed in Canada in 1994 by the Christian Embassy of Christ's Ambassadors as people began to identify with the need to forgive and be forgiven. (Image: Forgiveness proclamation/via Richland Community Prayer)

In the proclamation, the Commissioners cited a Mayo Clinic Staff report that stated forgiveness can lead to: healthier relationships, improved mental health, fewer symptoms of depression, a stronger immune system, and better self-esteem.

Reverend Larry Hill of Bethel Freewill Baptist has seen firsthand how forgiveness can change the health condition of a person.

"We had a woman in our congregation who went to the hospital physically sick because of her bitterness towards a man who had abused her daughter. She was naturally angry towards this man, but once she forgave him in her heart, she left the hospital with a clean bill of health. Clearly forgiveness set this woman free."

The proclamation also stated that due to anti-social behavior, the United States has the highest number of lawyers per capita with one lawyer for every 300 people.

Reverend Jay Hill of Paradise Free Will Baptist believes what the Bible says about forgiving your brother. "Ephesians 4:32 instructs as to 'Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.' Today in our culture we see family feuds leading to lawsuit and divorce as a result of bitterness of the heart. Forgiveness really ought to play a bigger part in our life."

Interestingly, the first recorded court summons in Richland County history took place between two brothers with an axe to grind. Justice of the Peace Andrew Cofinberry cited his very own brother George for chopping wood on the Sabbath.

Both area pastors happen to be brothers and the two reminisced on their childhood upbringing.

"The two of us were closest in age so we had our quarrels; in the heat of the moment we would duke it out," says Jay laughing. "Dad would line us up, make us forgive each other and hug each other. Then Dad would share with Larry and I the story of his brother who was murdered as a teenager and how Dad regretted his fights with his brother before his death."

"Growing up, these stories created a special bond between Jay and myself. Our dad's brother was gone. Dad told us how he had to ultimately forgive his brother's murderer with the help of the Holy Spirit."

Larry observes, "Growing up, these stories created a special bond between Jay and myself. Our dad's brother was gone. Dad told us how he had to ultimately forgive his brother's murderer with the help of the Holy Spirit."

In addition, the proclamation also cited a study finding that forgiveness not only restored positive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors toward the offending party, but the benefits of forgiveness also brought positive behaviors toward others.

Located at 1400 Paradise View, Reverend Jay Hill's church has outgrown its existing facility. The congregation has a Vacation Bible School, an outreach to the homeless on the square, and also participates in the Starfish Project for those fighting substance abuse.

Reverend Larry Hill calls his position at Bethel Freewill Baptist at 3983 North Main Street "a dream come true," serving five years as the Lead Pastor of the church he grew up in. His fellowship just finished a Vacation Bible School and provides transportation services.

Speaking of dreams come true, both ministers agree that a bitter feud between Founding Fathers and subsequent reconciliation account adds special meaning to Global Forgiveness Day on July 7th.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who co-labored together during the US Revolution, became fierce political rivals which troubled Dr. Benjamin Rush, a close friend of both Adams and Jefferson. Dr. Rush had a dream about the two which he wrote down on October 17, 1809, and sent to John Adams.

The amazing accuracy and future fulfillment of several parts of Dr. Rush's dream are astonishing. As described in his letter, Adams and Jefferson did again become close friends, and did indeed share correspondences over several years as described in the dream. Interestingly, seventeen years after Rush's dream, Jefferson and Adams did "sink into the grave nearly at the same time" as the two men died within three hours of each other on the same day: July 4th, 1826—the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

According to a recent News Release:

Last week Mansfield Mayor Timothy Theaker presented a proclamation to two area clergy commemorating Global Forgiveness Day. Pointing out that unforgiveness may lead to anti-social behavior, the proclamation illustrated that it is not always easy to forgive and forget.

The proclamation cited examples of depression, lawsuits, divorce, and homicide, as examples of anti-social behavior that may result when forgiveness is not chosen.

According to Elder Moe Hill of Grace Evangelical Free Church at 536 Kentucky Avenue, "Unresolved conflict can have an adverse effect on you. On the other hand, forgiveness has emotional, physical and spiritual benefits. As Matthew 5:9 says, 'Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."

Senior Pastor Dink Porter of Mansfield Open Bible Church had a first-hand experience of dealing with the issue of forgiveness in 2015 when serving as youth pastor at his church located at 1150 Rayfield Drive.

"We had a hundred kids who were a needy group. I was on vacation when something happened during our youth group meeting.

"Several of our youth were sent home during the meeting for unruly behavior and they decided to come back to the church, except they came back when everyone had gone home for the night."

According to Reverend Porter, two of the students brought three of their cousins ranging from ages ten to seventeen, and inflicted their anger on the church.

"An estimated $50,000 dollars of damage was done to our church property. Forty bottles of acrylic paint were taken and painted on the walls of our Sunday school rooms and carpets. Fire extinguishers were discharged in the church lobby and sanctuary. Windows were broken, televisions were destroyed and furniture was slashed. More than twenty Bibles were ripped apart. Hot wax from lit candles were dripped onto the carpet and vending machines were pried open. It was not a pretty sight," says Reverend Porter smiling.

The five juveniles eventually were caught and the church leadership encouraged the youth to apologize to the congregation. 

 "The congregation had to deal with forgiveness, some people who had been in church their whole lives were really upset that the building was ransacked. It was good that the five youth confessed and apologized to the congregation. Our entire church gave them a standing ovation and welcomed them back into the church."

"I was really blessed to hear Dink share this story," shares Elder Hill. "We are to forgive others the same way Christ has forgiven us."

"In fact, one of the students thought he would never be allowed back to the church but we welcomed him back. I still keep in touch with him to this day," adds Porter. 

 "When we extend forgiveness toward others, we are demonstrating the love of God, putting Christ on display for the whole world to see. When a person forgives another person, it really is setting themselves free."

Mayor Theaker's proclamation also cited a 2003 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine which found forgiveness to be associated with stress relief: a lower heart rate, lower blood pressure, and better sleep, which resulted in strengthening spirituality, and improved conflict management.

Over one hundred area clergy made international news in 2017 when they apologized to the Israeli Prime Minister for an anti-Semitic position the US federal government took regarding its sovereignty.  Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

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