Tag Archive | forgiveness

Unexpected Favour

 

When our children were young, my  husband and I, along with helpers from the congregation, often ran Vacation Bible Schools for the first four days of the March Break. These were fun and lively affairs. I got out my guitar and led the children in plenty of action songs. My husband did most of the teaching and taught the children how to make papier mache puppets. He also wrote skits and recorded the children’s voices as they read their parts. Parents and other guests formed an audience for the children’s plays during the final day.

On the Fridays, we took our children for a family outing. Often we drove into Ottawa and visited the National Museum of Science and Technology. The children loved the Crazy Kitchen and other entertaining sights and activities.

Then we would go out for supper, which was always a  treat. One year, we went to Swiss Chalet. At the time we had four children, the youngest  still a baby in a high chair. When we were shown to our seats, a man with his wife and small daughter were sitting across from us. There was something very special about this family. The man immediately made sure we had sufficient room to put our coats. Later, when baby Hannah began to fuss, he showed concern and asked if there was any way he could help. The family finished their meal and we continued with ours. A little later the waitress came over to us, since we were ready to pay our bill.  However, she said:  “There is no charge. The man sitting across from you paid your bill. He said that he and his wife were very busy with just one child and you looked extremely busy with four. He wanted to do this for you.”

We were astonished by this man’s generosity. A complete stranger, whom we had never met before, blessed us with totally unexpected favour. We didn’t know his name and were never able to thank him but I believe that simply passing on  this gift of kindness was all the thanks he wanted.

At Easter, we celebrate another man who extended completely unmerited grace. Jesus, the Son of God, died for the sins of mankind. He paid the price of our sins on the cross, so that by merely acknowledging his name and accepting his grace, we could become his children and be guaranteed a heavenly home when we die. This was not a gift that we earned in any way. As Romans 10:13 explains it: “…Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (NIV). Our only responsibility is to respond to God’s gift of love.

The generosity of the man in the Swiss Chalet  years ago was a reminder to our family of how gracious God is. He gives us his gifts in many ways,  through people, circumstances, nature,  the blessings of each day and eventually of eternity. It is all ours for the taking, if we choose to put our faith in Christ.

God bless you this Easter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coventry, a lesson in forgiveness

In Coventry, England, two churches stand side by side. One is a bomb shelled husk, a grim reminder of the flames and devastation of World War 2. The other is the new church, built after the old one was destroyed. Two churches. Two messages. One symbolizes the horrors of death, while the other the miracles of life and restoration.

Why is the old church still standing? To the people of Coventry, the sight of the bombed structure is a reminder that good triumphs over evil. When German bombs destroyed lives and property, in a 10 hour attack on the city, the people chose to focus on forgiveness.

As Easter approaches, Christians focus on two symbols of faith: the cross and the empty tomb. One represents sacrifice and death, the other resurrection and life. We are reminded that as Christ sacrificed his life for us, we need to share his love with others. Sharing Christ’s love in an imperfect world always requires forgiveness.

What would have happened if the people of Coventry had decided not to forgive? They would have lost the opportunity, not only for their own healing, but for the privilege of being an  example of faith and hope to the rest of the world. Forgiveness is always the most powerful option and Jesus has shown us the way through the cross and the empty tomb.

Have a blessed Easter!