Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jesus or Squirrel

One Sunday a pastor was using squirrels for an object lesson for the children. He started, "I'm going to describe something, and I want you to raise your hand when you know what it is." The children nodded eagerly.

"This thing lives in trees (pause) and eats nuts (pause)..." No hands went up. "And it is gray (pause) and has a long bushy tail (pause)..." The children were looking at each other nervously, but still no hands raised. "It jumps from branch to branch (pause) and chatters and flips its tail when it's excited (pause)..."

Finally one little boy tentatively raised his hand. The pastor quickly called on him. "Well," said the boy, "I know the answer must be 'Jesus' ... but it sure sounds like a squirrel!"

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Forgiving God

Forgiving God

Forgiveness is something that Jesus told us is of supreme value.  God forgives us so we are to forgive others.  Jesus even says that if we don't forgive others, God doesn't forgive us.  We forgive when we have been wronged.  We forgive when we have been hurt by someone.  Is there ever a time when we need to forgive God?

At first thought the very idea of forgiving God is something that goes against our spiritual sensibilities.  God doesn't wrong us, so why should we forgive him.  Who are we to think that we can forgive God? 

Forgiving God needs to happen when we feel hurt by God.  Even though the Lord never wrongs us, he does allow painful experiences to happen in our lives.  He, in effect, hurts us.  This hurt can cause resentment in our feelings toward God which of course blocks our friendship relationship with him.  "Forgiving God" means coming to grips with the fact that God "leads us into temptation" (but does not tempt us, as God does not tempt man to sin) so that we might be strengthened in our faith.  It has to do more with resolving our feelings of resentment through overlooking God's actions, than actually "forgiving" God.  We accept God for doing what we do not accept in other people because he is God.  I do not accept when others bring pain into my life.  I hold them guilty.  But God is able to use these painful episodes, to cause growth in me. 

There are times when my father allowed me to go through things that caused me to learn lessons.  At the time I resented my father for allowing these things to happen tome.  But in hindsight, I see that he needed to let me experience the consequences of my actions so I would learn.  It is this realization that my father did something valuable for me that allows me to excuse him or overlook his actions toward me. 

It is the same with my heavenly father.  When I realize that all of the pain I am suffering here on earth will be over when I experience the fullness of salvation when I am glorified in heaven, helps me to overlook, "to forgive", God for what he must lead me through to help me to grow. 

All relationships must be kept free of bitterness and resentment through forgiving our those who hurt us.  Our relationship with God is similar in that we too must deal with and resolve the bitterness, anger, resentment and other hard feelings that we have toward God so that our relationship through faith, will grow richer and more intimate.  We do "forgive" God for allowing painful experiences in our lives.  But we do not forgive him for having wronged us for the Lord never wrongs us.  But just as Job resolved his bitter and angry feelings toward God through gazing anew at his wonders, so we can "forgive" God when we realize our own ignorance in comparison with God's surpassing knowledge.  Then we can once again enjoy and rejoice in our God who loves us and cares for us enough to disciple us through pain. 

Paul Luedtke
Nyon, Switzerland

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