Category Archives: Forgiveness

the unreceived gift

Uncle Bruce was the youngest of seven children and my Mom kind of looked after him. Bruce was not always the happiest person – the word grumpy comes to mind actually. But Mom was fond of him and looked after him a bit.

Bruce had returned from serving overseas with the Army and was living with my grandmother in her house. As Christmas approached, my mother was looking for the perfect gift for Bruce. Since she owned a gift shop, she was able to shop and get whatever she chose for wholesale – what a deal! And she found the perfect gift for Bruce. It was a real sword, about three feet long, with a nice scabbard. Even at wholesale pricing, it was still expensive, and we didn’t have much money. But Mom wanted Bruce to have this sword. So she bought it and wrapped it up in glitzy Christmas paper with a big bow on top.

On Christmas, we headed over to Grandma’s to exchange gifts with extended family. Of course, the special present for Bruce came along, and we were all eager to see his reaction when he got it. (I know I would have been thrilled to have a real sword! Although I probably would have hurt myself with it…)

When the time came, Mom picked up the glitzy package, walked over to Bruce and handed it to him. We were all shocked at his reaction. He growled, “I told you I didn’t want you to get me anything for Christmas” and he refused to take the gift. My mom was rather upset that he wouldn’t accept the special gift she had chosen for him.

When we getting ready to leave that night, Mom talked with Grandma, and we left the still unopened gift at Grandma’s house for Bruce.

A few years later, Grandma passed away. Bruce had been living with her until shortly before she died. When Mom and her sisters started cleaning out Grandma’s house, they found that Bruce had left many of his things behind. And in the back of the closet, my mother found the Christmas sword, still in the box, wrapped and untouched.

Now here’s the lesson. The gift had been acquired and given especially for Bruce, it was in his possession, but he never opened it. He didn’t even know what the gift was. In essence, he had never received the gift, although it had been there for him anytime he wanted it.

In the same way, the gift of life is freely available and already given to every man, woman, boy and girl on this earth. It is Jesus’s gift, that he chose for us, and paid for with his own blood. Each one of us must decide if we will receive the gift. Choose whether we are going to take it, open it and make it our own.

If we don’t actively receive the gift, we miss out on all the benefits that come from it. In this case, forgiveness, being made right with God, being accepted into God’s family both now and forever. If we assume the gift is there and it will be ours even if we don’t accept it, we will miss the opportunity – forever.Image result for receive gift

Don’t leave the gift of God in the corner of your life, unopened and unappreciated. Don’t save it for some other day. Receive it gladly today. Make it yours. Enjoy the new life that Jesus has freely given to you!

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salvation comes through poverty, rejection and weakness

The ultimate example of God’s working in the world was Jesus Christ, the only founder of a major religion who died in disgrace, not surrounded by all of his living disciples but abandoned by everybody whom he cared about, including his Father. He was the victim of a miscarriage of justice and he died oppressed and helpless. Jesus Christ’s salvation comes to us through his poverty, rejection, and weakness. And Christians are not saved by summoning up their strength and accomplishing great deeds but by admitting their weakness and need for a savior.

Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God, page 208.


do you think i care so little for you?

Dr. Who is not a Christian show. But every once in awhile, I tune in because it is extremely creative and thought-provoking. Not your average sit-com by any stretch of the imagination.

Here’s the set-up: Clara’s boyfriend, Danny, whom she loves greatly, has been killed in a car accident. Clara has been grieving for weeks. The Doctor calls on her and Clara sets her plot in motion. She collects all the hidden keys to the Tardis (the Doctor’s time machine) to force the Doctor to go back in time and prevent Danny from dying. The Doctor refuses. Trying to force the Doctor to do her will, Clara destroys the keys, so the Doctor can never enter the Tardis again. Both Clara and the Doctor will die stranded in a strange time and land. It is then we discover that the Doctor has been letting Clara’s dreams play out in her mind, but not in reality. But the betrayal is what she planned and really would have done.

Read what happens next, or better yet, click here to watch the video.

Clara

 


Clara:    What now? What do we do now? You and me? What do we do? . . . Doctor?

Doctor: Go to hell.

Clara:    Fair enough. Absolutely fair enough. (starts to leave)

Doctor: Clara? You asked me what we’re going to do. I told you. We’re going to hell. Or wherever it is people go when they die, if there is anywhere. Where ever it is, we’re going to find Danny. And if it is any way possible, we’re gonna bring him home.
Almost every culture in the universe has some concept of an afterlife. I always meant to have a look around to see if I could find one.

Clara:    You’re going to help me…

Doctor: Well, why wouldn’t I help you?

Clara:    Because of what I just did, I just. . .

Doctor:  You betrayed me. You betrayed my trust. You betrayed our friendship. You betrayed everything I ever stood for! (shouts) You let me down!

Clara:    Then why are you helping me?

Doctor: Why? Do you think I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?


This exchange between Clara and the Doctor shows so well what love and forgiveness in Jesus really look like. In the allegory here, for just a couple minutes, Clara represents all of fallen humanity and the Doctor represents Christ.

When I sin, I am betraying the trust Jesus has placed in me to be the light of the world. He is not here physically like he was 2000 years ago and he trusts me, and all who follow him, to represent him to this world. I betray his trust. I betray my friendship with him. I act in ways that totally contradict everything my mind knows is right and true…

Yet – Jesus. Still. Loves. Me.

There is nothing in the world He has created that can ever separate me from the love of Jesus. Neither life, nor death, nor principality, things present or things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation shall be able to separate us from the love of God. And if none of those awesome, powerful things can separate me, why should I imagine that just weak, simple, small me should be able to?

Jesus loves me, this I KNOW.

Dr. Who – Season 8 Episode 11 – Dark Water – About 13:34