The film, “Heaven’s Rain”, shows Rev. Richard Douglass preaching his final sermon, using many of his actual words from his last sermon before he and his wife were murdered, and their two children shot and left for dead.
“You see, the joy of life is poisoned by the resentment of past grudges. We have to get rid of the bad blood because we grow by getting the skeletons out of our closet and opening the door to life with forgiveness, and mercy, and love.”
“God’s judgment is precious. Almost never will you meet a person who doesn’t believe there ought to be judgment in this world—that we should be held accountable for our actions. But our God is also a merciful and loving and forgiving God.”
And the moving scene contains these thoughts, written for the screen but
reflecting the values Richard lived and the high standard of forgiveness he held.
“The New Testament, in Matthew, says, ‘Love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you. And pray for those who mistreat and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes the sun to rise on the evil and the good—and sends rain on the just and the unjust.’”
“Even in classic literature, Shakespeare tells us ‘the quality of mercy is not
strained,’ meaning forgiveness can’t be forced. ‘It droppeth as the gentle rain
from heaven upon the place beneath,’ meaning it falls with God’s grace. ‘It’s
twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.’ So when we forgive someone else, we’re blessed with forgiveness ourselves.”
As Rev. Richard Douglass said, it is as important for us to forgive others, as it is for God to forgive us. We must give before we can take.