Parable reflects Jesus' forgiving nature
The Rev. Delmar White, pastor, Ninth Street Missionary Baptist Church, 847 Ohio:
One of my favorite Christian writers is Max Lucado. A few years ago he wrote a book titled "In the Grip of Grace." It is a must-read for anyone who is struggling with the idea of forgiveness.
He tells a story in the book about a little boy who received a slingshot for his birthday. During one of the little boy's target practice sessions he accidentally shot his grandmother's prized duck. In his attempt to conceal what happened, he put the duck under the woodpile and went about his business. What he didn't know was that his sister had been looking out of the kitchen window and saw the whole thing. She waited until her brother came into the house and told him she would tell unless he did her chores in addition to his. He took her offer. Finally, the day came where the little boy could not take it anymore and told his sister he was done doing her chores. The little boy told her that he was going to tell his grandmother what had happened.
He mustered enough courage and told his grandmother that he wanted to talk to her about her prized duck. He said to her in a panicked voice, "I killed your duck." She paused and said, "I know." He couldn't believe it - all this time he had been living with guilt and shame about what he had done, and she knew. She said to him, "I was standing behind your sister when you accidentally shot my duck. I saw the whole thing, too." She went on to tell him that she already had forgiven him but that she was just waiting on him to come to her and ask for forgiveness. At that the little boy asked his grandmother to forgive him and she did and they hugged and he felt as though a ton of bricks was lifted off of his shoulders.
Over 2,000 years ago Jesus went to the cross to give his life for our sins. What he is waiting for is for us to come to him and for us to ask him for forgiveness because he has already forgiven us.
- Send e-mail to Delmar White at firstname.lastname@example.org
Repentance can take awareness, time
The Rev. Creighton Alexander, campus pastor at Wesley KU:
I hope so. I know that I don't always realize what I've done or am willing to admit it at the moment. Repentance takes awareness and time. We find both in the story of King David where he forcibly laid with the wife of Uriah in 2 Samuel 11-12. David remained in a state of unrepentance from the time he lay with Bathsheba until after she bore him a son. All we really know is that God sent Nathan to him to confront the sin.
One of my father's favorite stories is Edgar Allan Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart." Left alone with the sin he had committed, the narrator's guilt manifests itself in the unnatural beating of his victim's heart hidden neatly out of sight. Like David, he tried to cover it up. And like David, it wouldn't stay quiet. Poe's character heard a dead man's heart. David heard the heart of God through his prophet Nathan. Both led to a freedom of some sort, but it was only in David's confession and repentance that he was released from a series of destructive actions that touched everyone around him.
I imagine that most people wonder if God sets a time limit on when you can repent. I don't think the problem is with God, it's with us. We assume that we've gotten away with our sin or have grown so numb that no one can wake us up to sin's harmful realities. It's time to move past our justification, our rationalizations and our actions that enable ourselves to remain in our sins.
I believe we need more Nathans in the world today - people who help others wake up to what their unconfessed sin is doing to them and those around them. God sent Nathan. Nathan didn't ask for the assignment - neither should we.
- Send e-mail to Creighton Alexander at email@example.com.