“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32
When I was still a teenager, I dated one of the more popular girls on campus. She was a cutie and turned heads wherever she went. My “courting” this gal didn’t sit very well with one of her former boyfriends. In fact, he and a bunch of buddies went out of their way to intimidate me constantly.
I have to admit that, in my younger days, I would’ve simply decked the guy and moved on. But, alas, I was now a new babe in Christ Jesus and He told me – by this verse – to forgive that jerk in the same manner Jesus had already forgiven me. “Say, what? I don’t think so!” was my response to reading this verse.
Then God showed up and showed me the “Why” I had to obey His every instruction….
Flash forward a few months and it is now a very cold and bitter Saturday morning up in the backwoods of rural central Michigan. No one was traveling that day but me of course. As I inched along the icy roads, a man huddled against the wind had his thumb stuck up desperately hoping to hitch a ride back to his house. His car had stalled and he needed help.
So, having pity on the freezing soul, I pulled up alongside and motioned for him to get into my car. He quickly jumped into the passenger side of my vehicle and, upon closing the door, pulled off his wool hat. It was my nemesis!
We hadn’t even recognize each other until that very moment. I am sure he was thinking, “Say what? I don’t think so!” as I slowly pulled off the shoulder and back onto the slippery road toward his house.
After a few moments of awkward silence, my mortal enemy spoke up and asked, “Hey, I heard you are going to church now. Are you a Christian now too?”
And then, I remembered that verse.
Over the next few moments, I shared with him the new hope and life I that I found when Jesus forgave me of all the bad things I had ever done – and, granting me eternal life through the work He finished on my behalf on that cross long ago.
“John” quietly held onto every word I said and then, as I pulled up into his driveway, extended his hand toward me. I timidly shook his hand and then said, “God loves you buddy!”
Today, my former adversary is celebrating his 40th year as a “born-again” Christian!
“Lord, help me to never judge anyone as being disqualified from the possibility of becoming saved and forgiven – especially since you saved this little stinker. Amen!”