Forgiveness gives life

Published 11:31 am Saturday, September 22, 2018

By John Warren


When I was a child, I had my life planned. I was going to be a commercial artist. I loved to draw.

For Christmas, I would draw the Christmas cards we sent to other family members.

One year, I drew the farmhouse where all my 10 aunts and uncles grew up with snow on the ground, roof and trees and Christmas lights hanging on the eaves of the house.

Although, we never had a white Christmas and Christmas lights had never been hung on the house.

My mom was ninth of the 10 siblings.  And I am the youngest of my generation in the family, so I did not meet one brother and one sister because they had passed before I was born.  Of the others, who got their Christmas cards I was really moved by my oldest uncle’s response.

He wrote me a letter thanking me and introducing himself to me.  We had never met because he had been banished from the family by my grandparents.  They were long gone, in fact, I had never met them either, but my old maid aunt and confirmed bachelor uncle who lived in the house kept their parent’s wishes and he never returned.

I met my Uncle Gordon on his deathbed when he was 79 years old, tears ran down his face as my mom introduced me to him.  He thanked me again for drawing the Christmas card and said he kept it on his fireplace mantle.

What had he done that was so terrible, had he robbed a bank, or murdered someone?  No, he had not broken a single law.  What he had done was get a divorce.  All this brokenness because two people chose not to forgive, even though they went to church and prayed, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

It is hard when those you love, choose not to be loving.

Jesus’ message, his very life, is wrapped up in this mending of hearts and lives.

If we as Christians cannot forgive are we really following Jesus life, example?

Churches should be in the forgiveness business, but too often we take up the judgment business, because let’s face it judging is so much easier.  After all, look at what he said, and she did, can you imagine?

Forgiveness may be harder but it is so much sweeter.

If Jesus has forgiven you, isn’t it time you did the same?

God bless you and may God’s forgiveness rest on you and give you peace.


John Warren is Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church, 502 North 6th Street in Orange.