April 4, 2008
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. Lamentations 3:22
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
From early childhood I have feared confrontation. Instead, I chose to appease people while collecting grudges. Although I never retaliated, I never stopped feeling wronged. This went on even after I became a child of God. I discovered that forgiving and forgetting was easier said than done. I allowed my grudges to fester and infect the people closest to me. The people I loved and who loved me could not help but feel hurt by my attitude and bear grudges of their own.
The grudges I bore were not over trifling things. I had been betrayed, maliciously attacked, and abandoned. Was I not justified in feeling bitter? How could it be a sin against God if I did not do something? I held on to my resentment, nurturing it with rumor and gossip.
It dawned on me very slowly that my spiritual development had ground to a halt. I had slowly slid back down into the pit of fear and anxiety from which I had escaped through my relationship with Christ.
I found myself spiritually where I never thought I would be again. I was wracked with guilt and hopelessness. But, as I asked God for forgiveness, I felt completely unforgivable. Even when I knew I had the assurance of forgiveness, I found it very hard to accept it. I argued with myself that there were some things that may be beyond forgiveness.
The resentment I harbored in my heart weighed heavy and stifled my expectations for forgiveness. I grew to realize that if I didn't let go of my grudges I could never understand my salvation in its entirety. I understood I was condemning myself the same way I insisted on condemning others. Yet, thankfully, God has forgiven me and, in so doing, taught me how to forgive others. God does not wish to victimize me. He wants to liberate me and has regarded my failings with compassion, forgiving them and completely forgetting them.
THE PRAYER: Thank You, heavenly Father, for forgiving me through the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Help me to live as Your forgiven child. Amen
Biography of Author:
Meron Tekleberhan, 24, attended Sanford English Community School in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is currently working on her thesis in international relations.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries