Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: RELEASE (08/02/18)
TITLE: Full-Blown Freedom
By Noel Mitaxa
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But with Jake, he was sometimes tempted to pray that an appointment would not be convenient—for Jake’s only topic was to repeat how his business partner had swindled him and disappeared overseas; leaving Jake with all the debts and a shattered reputation. All very sad, but he couldn’t let it go.
Lowell had often tried to encourage him to forgive and move on. “Forgiveness?” Jake would growl. “Don’t you mean ‘for-glib-ness?’ The real world is too tough for words like that one!”
Yet despite himself, Jake had linked into the church and kept on coming; possibly because he sensed some frustrated compassion coming his way from people who knew his story and who wanted to understand but couldn’t.
But his absence for a few weeks was prompting Lowell’s call. I’d better find out if he’s okay; and if he’s open for a coffee this morning. he thought, much against his desire for a quiet life – or some fresh conversation.
Lowell had often used calling-tone time for adding a PS to his prayers for any apppointment. But this PS was cut short by an excited response from another Jake. “Pastor Lowell? Starbucks at eleven? Great - I was about to call you! See you then!” And he was gone.
Lowell’s mind began racing. Excitement and curiosity began duelling to capture his attention. Now he couldn’t wait for eleven o’clock!
Just like in a movie, he found a parking space just outside Starbucks! And walked in ahead of time—or so he’d thought. Jake was already tableside; with a smile splitting his face!
This was strange, so Lowell sat down and ordered a long black, before finding his face mirroring Jake’s grin. From there Jake took over. That wasn’t strange, but a new verbal world opened up.
“Pastor, I’ve just got back from a month with my daughter’s family; and it’s made a world of difference,” he said, rolling his fingers around what looked like a playing card.
“I went to her church, where they had a special communion service. Everyone went to the altar to be served, and we were given cards to take home. I took two of them, and this one is for you,” he said, passing it across the table. “It’s just what I’ve needed all this time.”
Lowell picked it up, to read:
Every sin I have ever committed – or wanted to commit – and every sin done to me – accidentally or deliberately - has been nailed to Jesus’ cross, so now I may celebrate and share God’s forgiveness
“Pastor, I’ve wasted so much time reminding God and everyone else how hard I’ve been treated; totally forgetting what Jesus went through. Yeah, I had to part with a lot of money, but he handed over his whole life for everybody – including me and that ex-partner. When I realized that he was the one who died for that cheat too, I knew this was a sacrifice I couldn’t improve on. Because I can’t get into that guy’s head. Only God can do that.
“So that Sunday morning I handed him over to God’s verdict or God’s mercy – whatever he decides – and at that same moment I suddenly felt free. Now I can see the future without that cloud of suspicion or resentment hanging around me. This forgiveness has left that “forglibness” tag way, way behind, because I’m seeing that it works both ways!”
By now, Lowell’s smile deepened beyond a response to Jake’s newfound expression, for he knew how much the freshness of Jake’s story would free a lot of the congregation in a communion service that was not too far away…
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