Daily Devotional for December 6, 2022

Last week, a FedEx driver allegedly kidnapped Athena Strand, a seven-year-old girl, outside her home and murdered her.  The Wise County Sherriff reported the driver confessed to this horrible crime.

I cannot image the pain Athena’s family is experiencing.  I expect it is as close hell on earth as someone can get.

Yesterday, I saw a statement by Athena’s grandfather that truly humbled me.  These are his words: “This man I am, is angry and I want 5 minutes alone in a cell with the psycho that took our Athena away from us, but there’s a soft gentle voice in the back of my head telling me I need to forgive him… If I allow this hate to consume me, that voice will fade and eventually be silenced. Then that ugly spirit of hate will have succeeded and that’s why this gentle voice persists to tell me I need to forgive this man…There’s not one ounce of my flesh that wants to do this or say this, but my spirit has heard God’s voice and right now, while tears flood my eyes, I declare publicly that I forgive this man!” 

This man, even in the midst of unbelievable suffering, is able to forgive because he knows the “soft gentle voice” is God’s will and it is only through forgiveness this monstrous evil will not win.

To refuse to forgive is to rebel against God and allow evil to slowly and methodically pull us away from the light of love into the darkness of hate.

While forgiveness is very hard, God wants you to do just that.  Forgive those who have hurt either you or those you love.  Forgive those who wish you harm or speak evil of you.  Forgive those who are only consumed with self and see the needs of others as an inconvenience.  

Most importantly, what we must remember is if we don’t forgive, we cannot expect to be forgiven.

Immediately after teaching the disciples the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  (Matthew 6:14-15)

We forgive because it is the only way to walk in the light.  It is the only way to be whole.

Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, please help me to forgive.  I also humbly ask you empower those I have hurt to reach a point where they can forgive me.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

While I pray none of us experiences the depths of pain Athena’s family is feeling, I hope we can learn from her family.  Forgiveness is the way.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins