Compassion and Forgiveness

( [email protected] ) Nov 24, 2003 11:49 AM EST

"Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).

When I first started teaching, I was counseling two doctors who had the same specialty but lived in different towns. One of them saw in our newsletter that I was going to be speaking in a town near him, and he asked if Judy and I would come have dinner and spend the night with him. I said, "Sure, I'll be glad to."

The speaking engagement was over about 6:00, and Judy and I drove to his home. His wife answered the door and I could see through the house into the yard, where the doctor was barbecuing. She just stood there looking at me until I introduced myself and said, "Your husband asked us to dinner." Then we were invited in.

She and her husband had a quick chat in the yard, and he added more meat to the grill. We had a good meal with them and talked until about 9:30. They didn't mention spending the night, and I didn't want to embarrass him (he seemed to have forgotten about his invitation for us to stay), so Judy and I left and drove the two and one-half hours home.

About a week later, I got a letter from the other doctor-very angry because I had not shown up at his house for dinner that night. I had gone to the wrong doctor's house! Because it was so embarrassing, I made it a point of staying in contact with him. We had a good laugh about it, became good friends, and we are still good friends.

The doctor I neglected was very forgiving, but that's how the Bible says we should be-no matter what someone has done to us.

If God can forgive you of all the mistakes you make, then can't you be forgiving to others?