07.4 BSF Matthew Week 7, Day 4

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

I wouldn’t call it a treasure, but it is definitely something people hold on to, sometimes even to the grave.  Call it righteous indignation, personal justice, the need to get even, to get back, to set the record straight.  It is ugly, but it is also very, very human.

I know “christians” who have said of a family member, “I will never forgive them.  What they did was beyond forgiveness.”  But Jesus teaches that our forgiveness is conditional.  We are forgiven as we forgive.  And if we do not forgive others, then we will not be forgiven.  We may try to justify it and claim what they did was worse than what we do.  But, I don’t see that covered in these words of our Lord.  Either forgive or forfeit your own forgiveness.  It is another of those “free choices” we get to make.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean condoning their behavior.  It doesn’t even necessarily mean reconciliation.  It simply means that we no longer hold their transgression against them and, I believe, pray that God turn them back to Him.  This is hard.

It brings to mind the book, Amish Grace, How Forgiveness Transcends Tragedy.  If you haven’t read it, here is the synopsis from Amazon:

On Monday morning, October 2, 2006, a gunman entered a one-room Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania. In front of twenty-five horrified pupils, thirty-two-year-old Charles Roberts ordered the boys and the teacher to leave. After tying the legs of the ten remaining girls, Roberts prepared to shoot them execution style with an automatic rifle and four hundred rounds of ammunition that he brought for the task. The oldest hostage, a thirteen-year-old, begged Roberts to “shoot me first and let the little ones go.” Refusing her offer, he opened fire on all of them, killing five and leaving the others critically wounded. He then shot himself as police stormed the building. His motivation? “I’m angry at God for taking my little daughter,” he told the children before the massacre.

The story captured the attention of broadcast and print media in the United States and around the world. By Tuesday morning some fifty television crews had clogged the small village of Nickel Mines, staying for five days until the killer and the killed were buried. The blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor when Amish parents brought words of forgiveness to the family of the one who had slain their children.

The outside world was incredulous that such forgiveness could be offered so quickly for such a heinous crime. Of the hundreds of media queries that the authors received about the shooting, questions about forgiveness rose to the top. Forgiveness, in fact, eclipsed the tragic story, trumping the violence and arresting the world’s attention.

Within a week of the murders, Amish forgiveness was a central theme in more than 2,400 news stories around the world. The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, NBC Nightly News, CBS Morning News, Larry King Live, Fox News, Oprah, and dozens of other media outlets heralded the forgiving Amish. From the Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates) to Australian television, international media were opining on Amish forgiveness. Three weeks after the shooting, “Amish forgiveness” had appeared in 2,900 news stories worldwide and on 534,000 web sites.

Fresh from the funerals where they had buried their own children, grieving Amish families accounted for half of the seventy-five people who attended the killer’s burial. Roberts’ widow was deeply moved by their presence as Amish families greeted her and her three children. The forgiveness went beyond talk and graveside presence: the Amish also supported a fund for the shooter’s family.

This is the light and salt we are called to be as Christians.  Impossibly difficult? Without God’s help it would be impossible.

My Answers:

money, possessions, friends, minions, praise, name…. None of these last past death.  Time spent teaching is never lost. Time spent loving others in God’s name survives all.

Honor of God, Disciples brought to Him and/or trained.  Love invested in others for His sake.  Light and Salt.

Psalm:Law from your mouth is more precious that silver and gold
Luke:Do not store up riches for yourself on earth, but store up riches in heaven
1 Cor:God’s preparations are greater than anything we have experienced or can imagine
2 Cor:What is seen is temporary, what is unseen is eternal
Phil:On knowing Christ, everything else is as garbage
1 Pete:inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade

It is their addiction.  What they put above everything else.  Our “talents” are minutes on this earth, given to us to invest.  Spending that time in meaningless self accumulation is not an investment

I serve the Lord.  I seek to reflect His light in all aspects of my life.  I struggle and sin, but I put my trust in Him

Fear.  I know I need to trust in Him unyielding in all aspects of my life, but I fear I am missing something or letting something drop, not living up to expectations, not doing enough

Sin so often begins with where our eyes go.  Eve “saw that it was good”.  What we allow our eyes to see is then in us.  If we fill our senses with Godly things, then Godly things fill our life