Televangelist Jim Bakker said on July 5 that he has forgiven the people who sent him to jail after he was criminally charged and convicted in 1989 (video below).
Bakker made his comments on his cable TV show, notes Charisma News:
And the last thing I had to do before I got out of prison, I had to forgive everybody from my heart. Wow, that was the hard one. I prayed for them every single day. The judge, all the people who put me in prison, and there would be days when I didn’t feel like praying for them, and I’d read their name to God, but He said, "What was that Scripture? What does it say? 'Forgive from your heart.'"
Bakker was convicted in 1989 on 24 counts of mail and wire fraud in connection to his ministry's Heritage USA theme park in South Carolina, noted The New York Times.
Bakker was originally sentenced to 45 years in prison, but an appellate judge reduced his sentence and he went from prison to a halfway house in 1994.
Newsweek noted in March 2016 that Bakker has been selling seven-year supplies of dehydrated survival food and a fuelless generator for a donation of $3,500 on his apocalyptic-themed TV show that is based in Branson, Missouri.
The magazine added that Bakker's show is co-hosted by his second wife, Lori Beth, who has reportedly protected Bakker's assets under her name as he owes $6 million to the IRS.
Bakker reportedly pitches his survival food by mentioning the end times, which include natural disasters, economic meltdowns, the terrorist group ISIS and the Zika virus.
In addition to the survival food, Bakker and a real estate developer are reportedly selling a Christian-themed residential enclave.
Bakker originally ran afoul of the law when he oversold timeshares at his Heritage USA theme park.
Newsweek reported that the late televangelist Jerry Falwell once said that Bakker was "the greatest scab and cancer on the face of Christianity in 2,000 years of church history."