Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:1-2
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
For normal human beings forgiveness is something very difficult to understand. That's because our nature is to seek revenge when someone sins against us. Revenge is normal and natural, until you know Jesus. We're different because, when someone has Jesus as their Savior, the Lord tells them they should react differently.
They should forgive.
Allow me to share a personal experience with you. Not so long ago I was the victim of someone who always had it in for me. She tried to change every aspect of my life for the worse. At work she spread so many lies about me the boss felt he had to let me go.
I know there are people in your country who say it is difficult to find work. I can understand. In Nicaragua it is incredibly difficult. Having said that, I knew I did my best to trust in the Lord and entrust both my problems and future into His hands.
By His grace and hand I found another job that was even better than the one I lost.
But I have wandered. Let me share what happened with this individual who had messed up my life. First, I did not increase my suffering by continuously rehashing and hating what she had done to me.
I realized that if I dedicated myself to hating this person every minute of every day, I would be making myself spiritually sick. That's why, rather than hating, I decided to pray for her. I asked God to help me and show me the way I could think of this person without feeling any rancor in my heart.
In the Bible I learned it tells us to unconditionally forgive those who sin against us. Indeed, we need to forgive because if we do not do so sincerely, then we will suffer from resentment, bitterness and anger. Again and again, I repeated the Savior's petition: "Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us" (Matthew 6:12). It became obvious that if I didn't forgive others then I really didn't understand how much it took for God to forgive me (see Matthew 6:14).
My friends, I can tell you that forgiving this woman worked. When I stopped hating the individual who had hurt me, I found myself feeling better, happier.
And the end result of my story? The woman I had forgiven came back, and now she and I have put aside the misunderstandings of the past and are friends again.
It is a reunion made possible because we tried to forgive each other as Jesus has forgiven us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your infinite mercy and forgiveness of our transgressions. Please remain my Guide and teach me how to forget the trespasses and forgive others as You have done with us. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by Claren Zapata. She is a volunteer with Lutheran Hour Ministries in Nicaragua. We are thankful for her faithful participation and work in the production of our radio programs. Zapata does not confine her work to the studio; she also visits schools with Project JOEL and has gone to various clinics and rural communities around the city of Leon, Nicaragua. Lutheran Hour Ministries-Nicaragua is known as Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones ("Christ for All Nations"). It opened its ministry center in Chinandega in 1999. In this Central American country, LHM works with Equipping the Saints (ETS) and Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC). It also produces radio broadcasts, supplementing these with Radio CristoNica, an online program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and helping others in this country of six million people.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries