"The Advantage Of Forgiveness"
January 27, 2012
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
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 Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Francisco came home from school and entered the house. When his father asked him to come and talk to him, he did so reluctantly. Before his father could begin, Francisco ranted: "I'm sorry, Dad, but I am upset and angry. Victor shouldn't have done to me what he did!"
His father, a simple but wise man, listened as his son went on about his friend: "Victor humiliated me in front of my friends. I would like to see something bad happen to him."
When Francisco was finished talking, his father dug out a bag of carbon. Taking the bag outside, he told Francisco, "Son, think of that white shirt hanging on the line as your friend Victor. Throw these pieces of carbon at it as you think of the bad things you wish for him."
Young Francisco thought it was a fun game. The shirt was blowing away from him, and so most of the carbon missed the target. When the carbon ran out, his father asked, "How are you now?"
Francisco replied, "I am tired but happy because I got that shirt."
The father nodded and invited, "Come, I want to show you something."
The father led his son into the house and stood him in front of a mirror. Francisco was shocked. With the exception of his smile and eyes, his face was covered by carbon dust. His father summed up: "You got more carbon on you than you did the shirt. Remember, what we wish on others often happens to us. Although we may be able to upset someone's life with our thoughts, the waste of these thoughts always remains in ourselves."
When we do not forgive, all we do is walk in bad wishes, not the joy of Jesus. That kind of life is hardly worth living. Still the Bible clearly says, "A man reaps what he sows."
If someone makes decisions according to bad desires, the result will be a life that is both broken and destroyed. It is a life which has, at best, a strained relationship with God.
In contrast, the Christ wants us to assume the role of reconciliation, without stopping to think who is guilty and who isn't. He wants us to do as He did when He lived and gave up His life, reconciling us to our beloved Father.
When we, through Jesus, have received the forgiveness of sins, when we learn the lesson of letting slights and sins against us go, we have advanced greatly in our faith.
Because it blesses those who need our love and acceptance and, at the same time, it sets us free for Jesus to fill our lives with His love.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help us to forgive as we have been forgiven through the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Jaime Paredes, who is the director of our Lutheran Hour Ministries office in Venezuela. In this Latin American country of nearly 30 million people, LHM-Venezuela -- known locally as Cristo Para Todas las Naciones -- uses small-group ministry, Equipping the Saints (ETS), topical booklets, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC), 30-second radio spots, Project JOEL and television programming to share the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.
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