This is another one of my all time favorite things that I wrote, the graphic imagery always reminds me of not only my own mortality, but the reality that every day when I awake could be my last...
As Christians we are obligated to be a forgiving being, and I am amazed at how often we are not, myself included. To bring my point home I told a story to my bible study group, their minds were wandering as people do when they are hearing something very personal that they are not willing to change, so I told them a tale to let them know how serious I was and how much I believed in what I was saying.
I was at work several spring's ago, it was about lunchtime and we were getting ready to sit down and have our meal when the tones went out for a vehicle collision with injuries. It was right up the road so it did not take us long to get there, we had to shut down the road as the two vehicles were completely blocking the two lane road. This particular collision was a head on crash, a bad one. We immediately proceed to the car that is the worst off, my captain who is a paramedic reaches into the vehicle to check on the patient, he turns and looks to me and gives me the look and the shaking of the head that lets me know that there is no helping this woman, and to move on to the next vehicle. The particulars about the wreck are neither here nor there, what is significant is how God was speaking to me during this moment. Once the save-able patient was loaded and the police finished their investigation, they have to be very thorough in a collision that involves a homicide, I looked into the car with the lady who had just been called home. She was dressed for work, and it was obvious to me that she was on a lunch break. I say that because in the middle of the car on the hump was her bag of Taco Bell. Several things about this rang my senses. I could still smell the food that was in the bag, above the smell of the collision. When cars get in a crash, if you have ever been in a collision you can testify to this, there is a particular smell. The smell of antifreeze, airbag dust, and oil make a very peculiar aroma. But above all that was the smell of her lunch. She was going about her day as she normally would, thinking about what she had to do for the rest of the day, not knowing that her day was about to end right then and there. This is where I made the point to the group that most of us will never see our end coming, or our beginning depending on how strong your faith is. This lady never knew she was about to die, she never saw it coming, her demise was quick and painless, a flash of light and then Jesus. The other sense of mine that got tapped was my sight. You see, the bag of food was filled with this lady's blood. She was slumped over the steering wheel right above the bag. God spoke to me in a way that to this day I still see that image. Here was this lady's intent on continuing the rest of her day, and in the same image, the end of the day. The thought that went through my mind then and still to this day was....What was the last thing this person said to the one in this world she loves the most. Do you think she left a petty argument unresolved, bitter at the thought of the argument, or did she tell that person that she loved them. I live my life like this, arguments have to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. The end of the argument must come in the same day the argument took place. I do not want the last thing I say to the one I love be a stupid insult that I will always regret.
Moral- Forgiveness is an obligation amongst Christians. Forgiveness in marriage means that one person must be truly sorry and the other must truly forgive, regardless of the situation or severity of the sin cast against one another. Christ asked God to forgive those who were killing him, in a way to show that he had already forgiven them. Would you be able to do that? We most commonly live in grudges most of our lives. All who read this probably have at least one person on this earth that we hold a grudge against. But if you read Proverbs you will see it is chock a block full of why you should forgive, and that is Old Testament. The New Testament is full of how Christ lived a very forgiving life. An example of that would be Mary Magdalene, Christ never condoned what she did, never said it wasn't wrong, but he was able to forgive her anyway, as it is our duty as children of God. The other point is forgiving those whom you don't care about. Someone you don't know or know that well may severely wrong you, it is still your obligation to forgive that person, and ask God to forgive them as well. The difference with a person who you don't care about and a person you do is there is little chance of reconciliation with a person you don't care about. But if you pray for forgiveness and live that life, you will find that Christ offers your heart peace about how you have been wronged. The choice is ultimately yours, you can live in peace, or suffer with the bitterness that will fill your heart. By praying for forgiveness you find that you are living the Kingdom Life, you are offering your aches and troubles up to God. By living in bitterness you are trying to handle the situation by yourself, and you will find that you cannot find that peace on your own. Remember this, if you find yourself arguing with your loved one an argument that you have already prayed for forgiveness for, or have said you are sorry whichever the case may be, then you are a liar. Because you never truly forgave that person, and are not living in forgiveness, or you were not truly sorry, and feel that you have done no wrong. Arguments that are settled turn into conversations where each side is willing to listen and be heard.
If you expect to be forgiven in the Kingdom of Heaven, you must be willing to forgive. One of the things the Bible teaches us is that you will be judged on your ability to forgive. You can live a selfish life here and now, but in all reality you should treat everyone you know with the same consideration you expect when you reach the Pearly Gates. Remember, your ability to act and live as much like Christ as you can will dictate whether or not you get to meet him in the end. If you woke up this morning then God has granted you another day, but there is no guarantee that you will make it all the way to tomorrow, or even get a tomorrow. So if there are those in this world whom you still have not forgiven, I suggest you start praying, and living a life of forgiveness. If you are living in bitterness, you are not living, and you may never know a happy life until you have prayed for peace. And it truly is a very wonderful life. JT
Mathew 6: 7-13
Mathew 18: 21-35
01Peter 3: 8-12