August 23, 2017

The Unforgiving Message


I had already walked nearly a mile along the woods on the neighborhood trail, across the creek, along a field and by the small lake when I looked up and noticed a teenage boy walking my direction. He was wearing a bright red t-shirt and jeans and when he was close enough I could read the words printed on the front. The top line said in big white letters:

God Forgives

Great! He is a Christian I thought to myself. As his next steps brought him even closer I could see what was printed under it in even bigger black letters:

But I Don’t

I could not believe my eyes. I was shocked!

We passed each other and I was already thinking of at least ten scenarios that would explain the depth of anger and bitterness that resulted in him wearing that bold proclamation.

Do people ask him what is the story behind the words on his t-shirt?

Who won’t he forgive?

Why won’t he forgive?

It would have started in a huge painful event of course…

My heart felt heavy thinking of his pain. My thoughts ran in all different directions considering what must have happened to him at a very young and tender age.

I am never going to know his story. I am never going to know who he won’t forgive. I am not going to know why it impacted him so strongly that he is declaring it on his t-shirt.

Remember the first line, he is right. God forgives. I think it is amazing that this young man put that on his t-shirt. God forgives.

I hope a time will come when the young man will choose to forgive. Maybe he will make a new t-shirt that says:

God Forgives

I Forgive

I hope he does. There is power and freedom in our forgiveness of others who have hurt us.
 
“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  ~ Matthew 18:21-22