A Lesson in Forgiveness

Dear brothers, don't ever forget that it is best to listen much, speak little, and not become angry; for anger doesn't make us good, as God demands that we must be.

So get rid of all that is wrong in your life, both inside and outside, and humbly be glad for the wonderful message we have received, for it is able to save our souls as it takes hold of our hearts.

And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. So don't fool yourselves. For if a person just listens and doesn't obey, he is like a man looking at his face in a mirror; as soon as he walks away, he can't see himself anymore or remember what he looks like.But if anyone keeps looking steadily into God's law for free men, he will not only remember it but he will do what it says, and God will greatly bless him in everything he does. James 1:19-25 (TLB)

"Your heavenly Father will forgive you if you forgive those who sin against you; but if you refuse to forgive them, he will not forgive you." Matthew 6:14-15 (TLB)

Ken Claar lives in Idaho. Years ago, he taught a ninth-grade Sunday school class. One Sunday, after a particular trying week, Ken walked into the classroom to find paper streamers hanging from the light fixtures, chairs on the table, and the kids grinning at him.

Ken began to chastise them angrily for their disregard for him and Sunday school property. He went on for a while, ignoring their hurt looks, before he realized what he was doing. He stopped and apologized. He explained that his wife was seriously ill in the hospital, and he wasn't thinking straight. Yet that was no reason to treat them so badly.

They then went on with the class. At the end of the session, Ken stood at the door to watch them leave. He was proud of the example of forgiveness he had shown them. As they left, each student gave Ken a hug, a pat on the shoulder, or a high five. Ken was happy that they had learned their lesson on forgiveness. But as Ken thought about it later, he realized that they were the teachers and he was the student. They had freely expressed their forgiveness for his unfair rant; as they left the classroom talking and laughing, they carried no remnants of what had happened. That kind of forgiveness is a true gift from God.

Prayer : Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of forgiveness. Help us to forgive as completely as those young believers, in Jesus' name, amen.

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