Luke 6:36 (New International Version)
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
True forgiveness is one of the most remarkable traits a human can possess!
Some years back, Hildegard Goss-Mayr of the "International Fellowship of Reconciliation" told this true story.
In the midst of tragic fighting in Lebanon in the 1970s, a Christian seminary student was walking from one village to the next when he was ambushed by an armed Druze guerrilla fighter. The Druze ordered his captive down a mountain trail where he was to be shot.
But an amazing thing happened. The seminarian, who had received military training, was able to surprise his captor and disarm him. Now, the table was turned, and it was the Druze who was ordered down the trail.
As they walked, however, the student of theology began to reflect on what was happening. Recalling the words of Jesus, "Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; turn the other cheek," he found he could go no further. He threw the gun into the bushes, told the Druze he was free to go and turned back up the hill.
Minutes later, he heard footsteps running behind him as he walked. "Is this the end after all?" He wondered. Perhaps the Druze had retrieved the gun and wanted to finish him off. But he continued on, never glancing back, until his enemy reached him, only to grab him in an embrace and pour out thanks for sparing his life.
Mercy often wears the face of forgiveness. And though it usually isn't an enemy in uniform that we are challenged to forgive, we have opportunities for mercy everyday. Family members and friends, co-workers and neighbors and even strangers have need for our forgiveness. We each know who they are.
Dear Lord we pray that we would forgive those around us no matter how hard it is for us. Help us to show mercy just like You showed mercy on each of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
July 29, 2012
Blessed are Those Who Care.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." (Matt 5:9 NIV)
She was only ten when she wrote a letter to the newly appointed Soviet President Yuri Andropov in December 1982, asking in no uncertain terms if he was going to lead a nuclear war against the United States of America. News on the television in those in days was scary (It still hasn't changed!), and there was lots of talk of a possible nuclear war between these two super powers. With this in mind, from Manchester, Maine, courageously undertook the task of directly contacting the president of the U.S.S.R. And President Andropov replied to her letter, inviting Samantha and her parents to visit his country the next summer.
Soon after this, the Soviet Union opened talks with the U.S. This led the end of the 20th century Cold War. Many believe that this all stemmed from the letter of that ten-year old child.
Samantha continued to promote world peace until her untimely death at the age of 13, when she and her father were killed in a plane crash near Auburn, Maine.
What are we doing to promote peace around us? To be a peacemaker, we have to have love, true love for all mankind. Any prejudice, hatred, bias and unforgiveness have to be set aside in order to make peace possible. Peacemakers are there to protect, trust, persevere and hope. Without hope there would be no peace. But then without love, peace wouldn't be possible either!
Maybe we can learn something from this ten-year-old who decided peace was more important than our own interests. We can start this kind of peace in our own neighborhood. We can start with our own families.
And what about Lucy, Henrietta and Philip? They too are yearning for acceptance. Are we willing to foster peace in these relationships? Are we courageous enough to love as deeply as Jesus did? Or are we letting events around us turn our love cold?
Dear Lord we pray that we would be the instrument of Peace for You. We pray that Your love will show through all that we do. Help others see Your love in our live. In Jesus’ name, Amen.