Today’s Reading: John (NIV)
26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon.
Imagine you are sitting around a festive dining room table filled with all your favorite holiday foods, celebrating the season with your family and friends. The tone of the evening’s festivities has somehow shifted and the room has grown strangely silent. People are trying to avoid the one topic that has captured their undivided attention. Trying to hide your emotions behind the napkin placed squarely on your lap, you do not want anyone to know how you really feel about that deadbeat brother of yours. The honored guest at the table offers you his very best piece of pie, and you find yourself faced with a difficult decision. Will you wilingly let your animosity go and gladly accept this gift from him with joy? Someone’s secret sin is about to be revealed here at the table. Does he know how you truly feel? Can you not find forgiveness in your heart, especially at a special time like this?
I listened in hushed wonder as a pastor shared his personal encounter about his near-death experience. He told of the morning a car wreck nearly took his life. The night before, he had an argument with his spouse, and as he left for work the next day, he not only refused to speak to her, but continued to bear unresolved anger and bitterness in his heart. Pastor was distracted by his emotions, which may explain in part why he ran the red light at the crossroads of life. When his car hit the truck at full speed, traveling in the opposite direction, the pastor immediately watched his spirit man rise up above his mangled body inside the demolished automobile. He immediately saw himself in a place of total darkness. He could hear the anguished cries of men and women surrounding him, suffering in agony and intense pain. An angel appeared, pointing toward the dark abyss. “Is this hell?” the pastor asked, surprised at the scene unfolding before him. He was a believer in Jesus Christ and had preached the Gospel message of salvation his entire life. “How could this happen to me?” he asked the angel in sheer disbelief. He heard these words of condemnation he had not anticipated, “Because you have no forgiveness in your heart for your wife, if you were to die today, this would be your portion.” At this, the pastor prayed for one more chance to truly forgive, and he believes that his life was physically spared that day by the paramedics who worked to save his life, and spiritually by the Savior of all, who is Lord of our second chance.
Will your refusal to forgive the ones who have hurt you in this life keep you from being forgiven for all eternity? Are you willing to let go of the anger, the pain and the hurt you’ve carried all these years, allowing the Savior to heal your heart once and for all at the banquet table?
The honored guest has dipped the bread into the cup and he holds it out for you today. He is the Lord of the second chance. Will you accept His gift with gratitude or continue to hold unforgiveness in your heart? The choice is yours.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC -
© Copyright 2008, Deb Spaulding
All rights reserved
Articles may not be printed in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.