Monday, May 04, 2009

Forgiveness

Being a preacher, sometimes you wonder how your messages are heard. Does it go in one ear & out the other? Are they nodding in agreement on the outside & shaking their head in disagreement on the inside? Will this actually make a difference in their life? Some of the most encouraging moments for me in ministry happen when someone tells how a message I spoke a month or more before impacted something meaningful in their lives. When you see that they get it -- the light switch is on, they're processing the message in a substantial way in their lives. I'd say that's one of the most rewarding elements of ministry.

I'd imagine that it's rewarding for God. After observing his Word fall on deaf ears time after time after time, that light switch comes on & they finally GET IT! I'll bet it thrills the soul to see when His children listen and obey.

I've found myself teaching several lessons lately on forgiveness. In preparing to teach these lessons, I've come across some sayings that carry profound meaning for me. Forgiveness means no longer wishing future harm on the person who did you wrong. Forgiveness means making the relationship more important than the offense. Forgiveness means giving up forever on the idea of having what is fair. There's a lot that can be said for all of those ideas. I'll let you fill in the blanks.

But what's more powerful than all those statements is when you see them actually lived out. Easier to talk about forgiveness as an abstract. It's much harder to live it out when you talk about someone who unethically stole clients from your business, or someone who insensitively stomped all over your feelings with the mean-spirited words they spoke, or when you imagine someone taking the life of someone you loved dearly.

That last scenario actually happened here in Panama City. A preacher from Michigan came down to Panama City this past December to plead for leniency for a man on trial for killing his daughter while driving under the influence. Gregory Guice said of his gesture, "I showed him, 'What you took from me, I give to you. I'm going to stay on you. You are not going to be a lost soul.'" You can read more HERE and HERE.

God bless Gregory Guice. He gets it.

2 comments:

amodeus said...

I agree with you. To see forgiveness lived out is life changing! To Gregory Guice, I commend him on his love. Wow!!!

Jonathan Storment said...

What an amazing story. That's what the gospel looks like in action. Thanks for passing that on Philip.