May 21, 2011
(Jesus said in The Lord's Prayer) "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us." Matthew 6:12
All of us can become argumentative; some more often than others.
On occasion -- and I hope this never is true of any of us -- those fights can get carried too far. In an old monastery near Bebenhausen, Germany, a visitor can see two pair of deer horns interlocked. They were found in that position many years ago.
The best guess is those deer had been fighting and the force of their battle, along with some very bad luck, intertwined their antlers in such a way they couldn't be separated. Eventually, both died from starvation.
As a pastor, I regret to report I have seen the same thing happen to people.
Husbands and wives, both convinced they were absolutely right, started banging their heads together. No one was ready to give an inch; nobody gave any quarter. The argument was finally put to bed when they stood in front of the judge in divorce court and had his honor dissolve the relationship which was intended to be lifelong.
But such battles are not confined to spouses. Many of us have seen once inseparable friends become divided because of some small trifle. Nobody was able or was willing to say, "I am wrong." There are only a few possible endings to such situations: the least painful being the friends agree to let the relationship go, as they wander in separate directions.
That is not the way God operates. Rather than keeping a list of when He's right (which is all the time) and when we're wrong (which is also all the time), He forgives. Even more, He sent His Son to be the sign and seal upon that blood-bought forgiveness.
Then, knowing we ought to be appreciative of what He has done for us, He tells us to forgive others just as fully and just as finally.
It sounds like a simple thing to do, but sometimes it's hard to separate the horns of an argument once they're locked. Even so, with the power and example of the Lord before us, we can try and we can be sure He will bless the attempt.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, nobody knows better than You that forgiveness can be hard. Thank You for the absolution You have given to us through Your Son's sacrifice and then motivate us to share that unearned forgiveness with others. In the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries