Forgiveness Brings Hope
If you hold anything against anyone, forgive them. — Mark 11:25
Rocks piled into long, low walls dot a countryside. They keep cows from crossing but are not high or strong enough for much else. Each spring neighbors mend the walls that storms have toppled. The walls enhance the beauty of the country scene. However, the walls we sometimes build have a different purpose. We build walls that keep friends away from us. These walls go up because of misunderstandings, hurtful words and actions, or neglect.
These grievances are reflected in the thoughts of Robert Frost’s poem “Mending Wall.” In it the speaker asks the reader to consider whether building a wall keeps something in or keeps something out. The speaker says, “‘Good fences make good neighbors.’” Sometimes these walls are built because of offenses made against one another. The Bible clearly provides instruction on how you should respond to another’s wrongdoing against you — forgive.
Ask yourself whether you have put up walls between you and someone else. Is it time to seek forgiveness to mend the relationship? Be quick to forgive. By doing so, you prevent your lack of forgiveness from damaging hope.
Dear God, forgive me that I am sometimes slow to extend forgiveness to others. Help me to take down any walls I have built, so that I can develop godly relationships. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Solving Puzzles of Love
Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple. — Daniel 5:7
A picture must be cut into pieces of irregular shapes to make a jigsaw puzzle. Then everyone has fun putting the pieces together, usually starting with the corners and outside edges. Puzzles, riddles, and problems are enjoyable, but some can be difficult to solve.
King Belshazzar in the book of Daniel had his hands full trying to solve a riddle of sorts. A hand had mysteriously appeared and wrote words on a wall in a language that was not familiar to anyone. The king called for Daniel, whom God had given the gift of interpreting visions and dreams, and God gave Daniel the interpretation to the writing on the wall. For this Daniel received the king’s favor.
Love is like a puzzle of tightly fitted pieces. But when a loving relationship starts to fall apart, there is still hope of restoring it and fitting the pieces back together again. It takes time and may take extra people, like a counselor and praying friends. Look for the smooth edges as places to start, and rebuild the frame to protect the more fragile and broken insides. Like God helped Daniel solve the puzzle on the wall, God will help you figure out the pieces of your relationships.
Dear Father, when the loving relationships in my life come apart, help me to work to heal and restore our hearts so we can be whole again. Amen.
Excerpted with permission from 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting, copyright Zondervan.
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Has someone wronged you? Is the relationship casualty your fault? Instead of building walls, let’s ask for the Lord’s help to forgive and be forgiven, for help to fit the puzzle back together instead of allowing the relationship to stay broken. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily