Published Dec. 10, 2013

Shelia Shares
"Forgiving Adversaries"

It was close to Christmas a few years ago and I stopped to pick up a big bag of dinner rolls. I purchased the rolls, jumped in my car and headed out of the parking lot.

I was in the right lane and debating whether to go straight through the light or turn right. The light turned yellow, so I knew I would turn right after the through traffic cleared.

However, the left turn lane still had cars slowly turning from it. The last vehicle in line realized the cars were moving too slowly and I guess he wasn't about to wait for another green light. Without looking, he pulled toward the right lane where I was, clipped me just above my left front tire, moved fully into the right lane and proceeded through the red light turning left from the right lane. He never slowed down.

I had already stopped and watched in amazement while he went on his way. At 5:45 p.m. in December, it was already dark and there was no way I could have seen his license plate number. I got out of the car and checked the damage.

I thought, "How could they hit and run at Christmas time," as though the holiday season made it more of a crime. I hoped their vehicle was damaged. I hoped they felt guilty for weeks. Shaken and upset I called Paul and then got back on the road and slowly made my way home.

Next came the accident reports, insurance deductibles and claims, adjusters and eventually the car in the body shop to be repaired. Hit and run.

Jesus had some "hit-and-runs" in His life. When the Magi went to Herod for directions, Herod asked them to share what they found so he could "worship," too. His intent, of course, wasn't to worship, but to eliminate the newborn "King." The Magi didn't return the same way. Joseph after being warned took his family and fled to Egypt. Herod killed all the Israelite baby boys born around the same time.

Another time, Jesus had been fasting and praying for 40 days. His human side was surely ready for nourishment. Satan, the greatest "hit-and-runner," came to Him in His weakness. Jesus was encouraged to take power, test protection and create food. Jesus consistently resisted and Satan finally fled.

The biggest hit-and-run scene was when Jesus was praying in the garden. The soldiers came and although He didn't resist, took Him with force. He challenged why they came under cover of night. They didn't just cause a mess of property. They took him to kill Him.

He could have been angry. He could have questioned how they could do this at Passover time. He could have called down angels to protect Him. Instead, He said, "Father, forgive them."

I have to admit that when I saw that vehicle leave the accident scene, forgiveness never crossed my mind. I was angry, upset and shaken. I felt violated. I knew I'd have to file the reports, pay the deductible, be without a vehicle while it was repaired. I had a right to be upset.

However, if Jesus could forgive when He was being tortured and killed, and if I call myself a Christian, I don't have a valid choice but to forgive. After all, I wasn't injured. The car is only property. I was only inconvenienced.

What an example Jesus set. Forgiveness in the midst of wrongful action is necessary for the Christian. With His help, I can do it. Can you?

- Shelia

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