“It was the most thrilling exploit of my career.” After commanding a squadron of 353 torpedo planes, bombers, and fighter planes in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Captain Mitsuo Fuchida relished the thought of having crippled the United States’ Pacific Fleet.

Thousands of miles away from Pearl Harbor, a young soldier named Jacob DeShazer in Oregon heard about the attack, and was fueled by a passion for revenge. He volunteered as a bombardier on a mission to attack Tokyo. His squadron was known as Doolittle’s Raiders. On this mission, DeShazer’s bomber ran out of fuel, and so he and the other crewmen parachuted to the ground. After being captured by Japanese soldiers, DeShazer spent the next 40 months enduring cruel, inhumane treatment in a P.O.W. camp.

But after reading a Bible and putting his trust in Jesus Christ, Jacob’s hatred for the Japanese began to melt away. Instead of harboring bitterness towards his captors, he had a desire to win them to Christ. When the war ended, he became a Japanese missionary, distributing a tract entitled, “I Was a Prisoner of Japan.”

Someone handed a copy of this tract to Captain Fuchida after the war had ended. It intrigued him so much he purchased a Bible and read it for himself. Then he, too, trusted Christ as his Savior.

Fuchida and DeShazer later became friends and co-evangelists to Japan and Asia. Their story is a testament to the power of the gospel and the reconciliation possible through forgiveness.

No one is beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness — not you, your neighbor, your friend, or family member — no one. Jesus Christ reconciled us to God the Father by His death on the cross and shed blood, which paid for our sins. Then He rose again, proving this payment had been accepted. Through faith in Christ’s finished work, we become children of God — but Operation Reconciliation is only half-complete. Now God calls us to take the word of reconciliation and share it with others. Don’t fail in this mission.

Click here to learn where to start on the road to reconciliation with others.

Forgiveness does not mean the cancellation of all consequences of wrongdoing. It means the refusal on God’s part to let our guilty past affect His relationship with us. — Unknown Author

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.