"The 'Sorry' Note"
November 12, 2017
Matthew 5:25 - (Jesus said) "Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison."
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 Sunday 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
During the summer holidays of 2016, when I left my supermarket parking place, I saw that someone had left a note on the windshield of my car. The note said "Hi, my name is Iris. In trying to back out of my parking spot, I accidentally hit the back of your car. I am very sorry for what happened. This is my phone number so you can contact me if you need to settle this account with me. Again, apologies."
That message made me wonder why the woman had such an honest attitude, which would direct her to make such a confession. I believe that most people, knowing they had not been seen, would normally try to ignore their responsibility or simply cover their crime by running away.
In this case, the woman had a totally different attitude. She admitted her wrongdoing.
Perhaps she had reviewed the words of Jesus found in His Sermon on the Mount. There our Lord encourages us to confess our transgressions and find a way to make amends with those who have difficulties with us.
Anyone who looks seriously at the text knows the Savior is addressing the Christian life. He is speaking to us and how we should conduct our relationships with our brothers and sisters. We ought to be touched and motivated by the Savior who encourages us to reconcile ourselves first with the person with whom we are in conflict.
We need to remember the Savior was talking about our secret sins -- sins which are unseen but still are very real. He was referring to sins which involve judging someone, which damage our heart and fester in our thoughts.
These inside sins often lead us to wrong words and actions. In Luther's Large Catechism, he reminds us that we must not kill with our hands, mouth, heart, signs, gestures, or deprivation of help and counsel. This thought was not original with Luther. In verse 21 our Lord Jesus Christ says we must not kill. He includes in that category any kind of situation or instance that leads to death. In short, it is not only the hand which kills; the tongue can also become a tool of death.
Now the Lord knows we are not perfect. He, better than anyone else, recognizes that every human is a sinner who regularly fails. He is aware that since we are unable to comply with divine law, we will need the assistance -- the sacrifice of His Son -- if we are to be forgiven and saved.
To that end we sinners are given the faith to trust in the love and forgiveness which comes from Jesus Christ, who offered Himself as the ransom which paid for the redemption and salvation of our souls.
Honoring and thanking Him for all He has done, we will gladly be reconciled with others and do our best to live in peace.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, You bring us to the Father through Your life, death, and resurrection. Give us encouragement and faith to gladly repent to You and live in harmony with others. Help us to remember the words of the prophet Nehemiah who tells us, "You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (see Nehemiah 9:17) This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by written by Gabriela Silveira, director of Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones-Uruguay. This reflection is based on the sermon by Pr. André Luiz Muller from the Lutheran Church of Uruguay. Since 2001, working out of the capital city of Montevideo, Cristo Para Todas Las Naciones ("Christ for All Nations") shares the message of the Gospel in this most secular of South American countries. Our staff, which consists of three gifted women, does outreach through the distribution of biblical reading materials and Bible studies.
In this South American country where religion is downplayed, LHM-Uruguay utilizes radio programs like "Focus" (a 30-second spot covering a variety of topics) and "Message of Hope" (60-minute programs speaking about faith and hope). Other outreach efforts include local performances, craft workshops, and special events that celebrate certain days like Children's Day, Mother's Day, and Christmas. Additionally, Project JOEL and other biblically based resources connect with youth, helping them make sound value judgments and healthy decisions. The homeless and unemployed are also assisted through this ministry center's food distribution program.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries