by Rev Robert A Wendel
“Shall I forgive my brother as many as seven times? You must forgive your brother from the heart. Forgive and you will be forgiven. You ought to forgive and comfort him. Old things are passed away: behold all things are become new.” (Matt. 18:21-23, 35; Matt. 6:14-15; 2 Cor. 2:7;2 Cor. 5:17, NRSV.)
My former wife Kathryn’s family has owned fifty acres in the New York state mountains since 1912, on which they erected a pair of cabins and use as a family get-a-way. During a vacation visit we went up there and I watched my father-in-law restore the large picnic table everyone ate upon breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After he stripped the table down to the bare wood, I saw why someone had painted it white. It was ugly. The top was gouged, discolored and scarred. That was one day. A second day began with me thinking “Will this table, which was so much part of the property, ever live again?” Mr. Roberts placed the veneer on top, applied an oak stain and clear varnish. Like new, the table was returned in all its grandeur, ready for another generation or two.
Seeing what happened with that old picnic table reminded me of what God can do with people. He can forgive us of any sin and sand away our scars and imperfections if you will, and transform us into new creatures. That’s how amazing His grace and how glorious His love is.
Fred Bauer wrote “Thank God that with Him sin knows no size, and that His forgiveness can take us to paradise.”
Marilyn Morgan Helleberg wrote for Guideposts, “Mr. Clark cheated my doctor father out of a considerable sum of money. My dad was not a vengeful kind of man. Then one night Mr. Clark was brought to the hospital ER hemorrhaging critically. He said “I wouldn’t blame you if you let me bleed to death, Doc.” Their blood types matched. So, the doctor donated his own blood, saving Mr. Clark’s life and giving himself the opportunity to forgive.”