“But anyone who does not love does not know
God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8 (NLT)
Louis Zamperini was an American World War II veteran and former Olympic distance runner who embodied resilience. After surviving a plane crash in the Pacific, he endured over a month at sea before being captured by the Japanese. In a POW camp, he faced brutal treatment from a sadistic guard named Mutsuhiro Watanabe, nicknamed “The Bird.” Despite relentless abuse, Zamperini resisted, often defying his captors. He was finally liberated in 1945 but struggled with post-traumatic stress. Zamperini’s story is captured in Laura Hillenbrand’s book “Unbroken,” which details his remarkable survival, resilience and eventual forgiveness towards his captors—including cruel Watanabe.
God gave Louis the ability to love and forgive because God’s love worked through him in the face of extreme adversity. Louis’s personal relationship with Jesus empowered him to love and forgive even his worst enemy.
This same resilience is something I seek, inspired by both Louis and my desire to emulate the qualities of Jesus (Romans 8:28-30). I wonder, do you have your own ‘Watanabe,’ someone who has hurt you deeply? If so, my heart goes out to you. Just as I’ve asked myself, may I gently ask you: “Have you found the strength to forgive that person?”
It’s not about blindly trusting them, but as God calls us to ‘choose to remember their sins no more’ (Isaiah 43:25), forgiveness becomes a powerful act of resilience. Unforgiveness, on the other hand, poses one of the greatest threats to our lives. Let’s embrace resilience, love and forgiveness, drawing strength from our connection with God.
“Louis’s personal relationship with Jesus empowered him to love and forgive even his worst enemy.”
Tip of the Day
Practice love by choosing that one person who may have wronged you. Replace harsh thoughts by offering a sincere prayer for them.
Our Father, loving like You is so contrary to how I often feel. I still think about that one person who hurt me. Help me to forgive like You. Please give me the supernatural ability to love and empower me to give that love to others today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Pause and Reflect
Reflect on a time when you faced a situation demanding resilience. How did your faith influence your response?
Consider someone in your life who may have hurt you deeply. What steps can you take toward forgiveness, drawing strength from your connection with God?
In what ways can you practice love and resilience today, even in challenging circumstances?