April 21, 2010
Pearline Reed’s wise words to her daughter Elizabeth in A Spent Bullet: “Here’s the thing about forgiveness. It’s a gift you give yourself. When you forgive someone who’s wronged you, you’re giving a double gift. One to them, but the best gift is to yourself.
It’s not about whether they deserve it or not. Gifts often aren’t deserved. It’s giving something, in this case forgiveness, so you can go on
“When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge.” Proverbs 21:11
Life is full of examples and warnings, and so is the Bible. God’s word is “chock full” of examples of how to live your life: Joseph in Egypt standing with integrity and forgiveness; Elijah standing alone on Mt. Carmel for God; Most of all, I love the example of Jesus’ perfect life. He didn’t just tell us how to live, he modeled it.
Conversely, the Bible, in all of its honesty, contains many warnings of how not to live.
Samson and his compromise; Pilate and his waffling under pressure; Ananias and Sapphire attempting to defraud God.
I admire how the Bible doesn’t gloss over its heroes. It shows them as both examples and warnings. Young David standing up to Goliath; King David and his blatant sin with Bathsheba.
Abraham and his great faith in leaving home for an unknown place; Then a few years later, his lack of faith in the presence of Pharaoh, lying about his wife Sara (the white lie of “she’s my sister.)
Peter leaving the catch of a lifetime to follow Jesus; Peter denying that he even knows his Savior; then two months later defying Jesus’ killers in Acts.
All of these are recorded to teach us. Instruct us.
I’ve lived in the same piney woods area for my entire life. I’ve been involved intimately with the same folks and generations of their families. (I recently introduced my grandson to an old timer. He studied him before patting him on the head. “Son, you’re the seventh generation of your family I’ve known.”)
I’ve observed so many examples of right living and Godly commitment. I’m thankful for each and every one.
Sadly, I’ve watched many houses built on sand collapse. Just like a flashing caution light, they’ve instructed me, reminding me that “there but for the grace of God go I.”
The Proverbs writer is right. We can learn from the examples… and warnings… of others.
Lord, help me learn. I really mean it Lord. Make me an eager lifetime learner as I observe and read about the lives of others. And Lord help me to be an example not a warning. I need your help on that. Amen.