Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Eph. 4:32)
IT WAS MY FIRST SUNDAY at the church that had called me to be their pastor. After the service, an older gentleman handed me a note that said, “My wife and I want you to visit us this week.” No reason was given for this request. I assumed they just wanted to get to know their new pastor.
When I arrived at their house, the gentleman stated, “We plan to stop coming to your church.” This took me by surprise, so I asked, “Can you tell me why? Did I do something to offend you?”
An awkward silence filled the air before the man answered, “You didn’t do or say anything wrong. It’s just that we find it hard to sit under the ministry of a Chinese guy!”
When I heard this, I was hurt and angry. What a lame reason!
A retired pastor, upon seeing how upset I was, gave me the following counsel. “Jim, do not allow bitterness to fill your heart. If you do, you will never be an effective spiritual leader. Forgive them. Remember, God forgave you. The least we can do is forgive those who have hurt us.” I responded, “How do I do that? They have really wounded me!” He replied, “Allow the Holy Spirit to transform your heart of anger into one filled with compassionate forgiveness.”
Enjoy the peace that follows forgiving someone who has hurt you.
Jim “Umf” Lo is a professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, cross-cultural leader, intercessor, and author of several books including Unholiness: Overcoming the Forces That Attack Your Soul (WPH).
© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.