April 10, 2010
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgives you. Ephesians 4:32
Traffic can be a problem in a big city. This is true especially when a pedestrian encounters a rude automobile driver.
That happened to me last week.
The light turned red and a great big car rolled into the crosswalk before coming to a stop. Those who were on foot, like me, were forced to go in front of the car or behind it to get across the road.
It wasn't a long detour, but it was an unnecessary one. It was a detour compounded by the driver of the car who kept laughing at us.
That was when a young lady, a lady whom I have never seen before, did something I wish I'd thought of. She opened the back door on the driver's side, scooted all the way across the back seat, and got out on the other side.
She left both doors open -- a gesture that amused the other pedestrians and frustrated the car's driver.
We encounter rudeness every day.
We keep running into people who think only of themselves without any regard for others. Most of the time we ignore such folk, but sometimes -- like the young lady -- we want to get even right there on the spot. It's pretty satisfying. And it's pretty sad, too.
After all, we're not little children who have to keep escalating things. Name calling becomes pushing; pushing becomes hitting; hitting becomes, well, you get the idea. We aren't like some of the nations of the world who have to make two bombs if you have one bomb.
Where does it stop?
The Lord knows it has to stop with forgiveness. The forgiveness we receive from the crucified and risen Savior is the same forgiveness we need to share with others. Even if -- especially if -- it's satisfying to get revenge, it's still better to forgive.
That's what the text says. We forgive as we're forgiven.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, it is better to forgive when others have hurt us. We need You to keep reminding us of that fact. Help us give to others what Jesus so gladly and graciously offers us: forgiveness -- not retaliation -- for our sins. In Jesus' Name, we ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries