And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)

MY FRIEND BILL LOVES SPORTS CARS. He confesses that they are his weakness—especially red ones. When a neighbor bought a brand-new, bright red convertible, Bill begged for a ride in it.

The car’s odometer had only six hundred miles on it, so Bill was surprised to see a deep scratch on the passenger’s front door. The owner told Bill that on the day she had bought the car, her twelve-year-old brother had carelessly scraped his bicycle against the door.

My friend asked if her brother was still alive! She explained that she hadn’t yelled at him or pointed out what he had done.

Bill could hardly believe what he was hearing. His neighbor explained that her mother had always taught her that people’s feelings were more important than things. She knew how her brother would feel, and she didn’t want to hurt him.

At this, Bill said he saw the gospel story pictured once more. That same kind of forgiveness, tenderness, and love flows down from the cross and into our lives. It is a costly love. It is a love that quietly suffers wrongs but gives tenderness instead of bitterness. It is a love that calls us to pass on what we have received.

There are many moments when we are forgiven much. There are many moments when we can forgive.

The next time you are about to vent your anger, stop, take a deep breath, and remember when forgiveness has been shown to you.

Drexel Rankin is a retired ordained minister who served full-time pastorates in Indiana, Alabama, and Kentucky. He and wife, Patty, live in Louisville, Kentucky.