A Life of Forgiveness

“If it was raining soup, the Irish would go out with forks.”~~Brendan Behan
(BrainyQuote)

Today’s word of the day, from Dictionary.com, is Hibernian, which means, “of, relating to, or characteristic of Ireland or its inhabitants; Irish,” or, in noun form, “a native of Ireland.”

And why all of this Irish emphasis? Because, of course, today is Saint Patrick’s Day! The one day of the year when you can get painfully punished for not wearing the proper color of clothing.

Today is Thursday, even though it feels like Tuesday to me. I had to remind myself several times, yesterday, to not drive to Southlake for band practice after work. We didn’t have band practice this week, anyway, for Spring Break.

I guess I will wear something green, today, but I’m tempted to wear orange, instead. After all, I am not Catholic. 😀 In fact, I think I will. Because I’m just that way, sometimes.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From Praying With the Psalms)

Malicious witnesses rise up; they ask me of things that I do not know.
They repay me evil for good; my soul is bereft.

But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother; as one who laments his mother, I bowed down in mourning.
But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered; they gathered together against me; wretches whom I did not know tore at me without ceasing;
like profane mockers at a feast, they gnash at me with their teeth.
How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their destruction, my precious life from the lions!
I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.

Psalm 35:11-18

The psalmist complains because his “friends” repaid him evil for good. He sympathized with them when they were sick; fasted and prayed for them. Now when he needs them, they mock him, even to the point of rejoicing over his stumbling.

“O God, I want to be able to treat the ill and unfortunate the way you treat them, not using their illness as a chance to find fault with them or blame them, but as a time to share your compassion and strength in the name of Jesus, the great physician. Amen.”

(From Daily Guideposts 2016)

Today, in a segment called “WHAT THE SAINTS HAVE TAUGHT ME,” Elizabeth Sherrill writes a piece called “Patrick, Companion When You’re Wronged.”

But I say to you, Love your enemies . . .
Matthew 5:44

Elizabeth writes of dreading St. Patrick’s Day, when she was younger. It seems that the Irish-American kids at her school played it up, singing Gaelic songs, and generally making it clear to everyone else that there was some sort of privilege to being Irish.

But guess what! Patrick wasn’t Irish! He was the son of a government official in Roman Britain. “When Patrick was a child, Ireland was the stuff of nightmares–a pagan land of marauding pirates who periodically swept down on his civilized Christian homeland.”

When Patrick was 16, in 405, he was kidnapped in one of those raids, carried back to Ireland, and sold as a slave. He wound up tending sheep, practically naked, through long winters, for six years before he finally had an opportunity to escape. Once he finally did, and made it back to Britain, in his gratitude, he devoted his life to God.

He was studying at a seminary in France when he began to have strange dreams. “He heard Irish voices begging him to come back and bring them the Gospel.” Which is exactly what he did. “For thirty years he traveled ceaselessly throughout the island, teaching, baptizing, planting churches, and bringing learning and peace to the land where he had received only cruelty.”

. . .bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Luke 5:28

Father, I have never been kidnapped or sold into slavery. Nor have I, like David, been mocked by friends while sick. But I can point to times in my life where people have, in a sense, mistreated me. I pray to always have a spirit of forgiveness toward people when I am not treated the way I think I should be. If Patrick can go back and preach the Gospel to a culture that enslaved him, if David can continue to minister to people who treat him poorly, why should I not be able to do the same?

Come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

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