An aching heart caused me to sleep little the night before. I awoke in the following morning in a fog of heavy depression.
As my custom, my first act of the day was to kneel at my bedside. My prayer was one of simplicity.
“Father I must have forgiveness this morning.” None was to be found.
I dressed in old sack cloth and walked out into the desert. There I sprinkled ash over my head and laid prostrate before my maker.
“Oh King of all kings, please hear my cry. I must have forgiveness this very morning.” Still none came.
Later that morning I made myself totally naked and lay in the ash heap. I cried from the deepest pits of my bowels.
“Hear me, oh Great One I must have your forgiveness. Naked I came in this world, naked I will leave but not before you grant me forgiveness.”
Then from the inner most corridors of my soul came an echoing voice.
“Get up and go beg your enemy for forgiveness.”
I now stood with deep shame for I was naked. Next a river of fear began to flow over me. When the last wave crest upon my heart, It was replaced by a burning rage. I cried out angrily.
“How could you demand such a thing from me? My beliefs have always been strong.”
No answer came - only cold hard silence.
I angrily went and scrubbed myself for my demise and dressed in my funeral clothes. I knew that God had announced my death sentence.
I walked out my door for the last time and started my journey. Within a few hundred yards of my property line a man crossed my path.
He ask, “Why the gloomy face this beautiful day?”
I explained to this stranger all that had befallen me earlier in the day. He laid his arm on my shoulder and looked at me with the most understanding eyes I have ever beheld.
“How could your God who calls himself love and light ask such a loathsome thing from his own?”
Suddenly within a twinkle the scales fell from my eyes and I knew I was in the presence of Lucifer.
I resumed my journey with a feeling of loneliness I had never known before. As I walked away, I still could hear the father of all lies whispering excuses in my ears. After walking a mile or so they began to fade.
I approached the gate of my enemy and to my amazement he was standing by the gatepost.
Upon seeing me he roared, “What reason do you have to be at my gate and what do you want of me this day?”
“I am here because my Lord has sent me. He needs nothing. All things belong to him. I, on the other hand need, your forgiveness.”
I dropped to my knees and kissed the sandals of my long time nemesis. Suddenly I felt two colossal hands on my head. I looked up expecting to see my executioner, instead I found a heart that was being melted by the love of God.
He gently spoke, “Please, my brother, come in and share my wine and bread. Tell me about the health of my mother and how is my father?”
I found forgiveness at my brother’s feet. Through God’s wisdom my brother found his lost salvation. We each found a lost brother.