On our way to church tonight, 8-year-old Logan was in the back seat chatting and out of nowhere, I heard him say, “I give my friends, like, five chances and that’s it. But if I really like them a lot I give them seven chances.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Chances to do what?”
“You know, like, if they make me mad or something. Maybe five chances or seven,” he said.
I didn’t know if he was paying any attention as I explained to him that Jesus taught us that we are supposed to forgive people 70 times 7, which means forgive them every time they do something wrong. But forgiving people doesn’t mean we have to be their best friend or anything like that.
Then we pulled up to the McDonald’s drive-thru and dropped the conversation.
Soon after we arrived at what may be our new church but we didn’t know that they haven’t kept up with their website. So there was no service. The new service times were indicated on the door, however. But we were all ready to go to church. So I drove to Lakewood, where church was about to start. We sat down to a full house just in time to hear Joel Osteen introduce the guest speaker, Bishop T. D. Jakes.
And what did Bishop Jakes proceed to teach? That we are supposed to forgive 70 times 7! (I had no clue that Bishop Jakes just released a book about forgiveness and was slated to preach instead of Pastor Osteen—I mean, I intended to attend a different church!)
This kind of affirmation of God is something that I experience on a regular basis, but it’s always especially remarkable when I move in a direction of fresh obedience, which is what going to church tonight was (fresh obedience).
As we left the service and we were walking the long distance toward the car, I asked Logan if he noticed that the preacher spoke about the same thing we talked about on the way to church. He did, and he repeated some of the things Bishop Jakes had said, such as that we need to let go of our anger before the sun goes down.
Then Logan asked if it’s okay to stay angry at one person about one thing. I explained that any unforgiveness that we hold in our hearts stops up our relationship with God, like a toilet that won’t flush. We have to forgive or our hearts get clogged up. Then we got to the car, and the conversation ended.
But I can still feel the joy of having received God’s affirmation. Haven’t mentioned it, but I even got to minister tonight! As we walked toward the church, a woman was leaning on a railing holding an asthma puffer, looking like she was having a very tough time breathing. I told her I’m a Stephen’s Minister at Lakewood (which I am) and asked to pray with her. She allowed me to and then proceeded to continue walking on into church (I held the door as she entered).
I still don’t know what’s going on with Logan and his friends who are making him angry, though. I’ll ask him more about it tomorrow.
And I wonder if Logan remembers that on several occasions we’ve talked about the Bible between ourselves and then the preacher uses the same scriptures and teaches the same lessons. It’s really uncanny how many non-coincidences there are with God!