Friday, December 10, 2010
Be a tunnel (devotional # 5)
Yesterday I was involved in two different white elephant gift exchanges. Although one of the host groups encouraged re-gifting something unused from home, you could tell most of the participants had purchased a small gift for the swap. There was the random bowling ball and silver baby plate and spoon, but otherwise the gifts were typical - bath product, Christmas tchotchkes, candles and gift cards.
At one of the meetings where the exchanges took place, a devotion was given on God's forgiveness. The speaker noted that during this stressful time of year in preparing for Christmas we should be like Christ, forgiving. I guess, because of the activities of the day (or the late hour), I thought, "Yeah! We should re-gift forgiveness!" The analogy doesn't completely work since a re-gift is usually something you didn't use or didn't really care for. Or is it right on target?
We're commanded in Matthew 6:14: For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
My pastor, speaking on offenses/forgiveness one Sunday, used the word picture of being a tunnel, not a wall. When someone offends or hurts you, let it go right through you to God. In reverse, allow His forgiveness to flow through you in response to that person. Don't be a wall, where the offenses stack up and hit anger, impatience and bitterness, a place where God's forgiveness can't be shared because of your hard heart.
It's often difficult to be a tunnel with our immediate family, but being a conduit of forgiveness at this time of year is truly THE picture of Christmas.
My prayer is that we can say like Paul:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save [forgive] sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (I Tim 1: 15-17)
Whether you're trying to navigate around rude shoppers and drivers or facing the heavy load of "doing it all" at home, be a tunnel. Allow forgiveness, what ultimately Christ came to earth to give us in love, to flow through you this season. You'll be glad you did!