March 1, 2014
David and his life-long buddy, Jonas, stepped into the darkness of night as they left the singing and headed for the barn. Neither one had asked for a date as they stepped into the late winter night. Under the cover of darkness, David cleared his throat and then spoke: "I want to tell you what happened to me about a month ago. I hope you'll understand me better than some did whom I have talked to about it."
"Does it have to do with our church rules and regulations?" Jonas wanted to know.
"Well, you might say that, but it's really something of a deeper and personal choice I've made. Do you remember when we were Christmas caroling in December?"
"I do remember, and I also remember you just turning sober all of a sudden and it was as if you lost the luster of your voice."
"It wasn't that I lost my voice. It was rather that it seemed like I heard another voice inside of me calling me to come to adore Christ the Lord. I can't really explain it, but I just couldn't shake the call, and so I started reading my New Testament. I read from Matthew 11:28, which is Jesus' call for the tired and weary to come to Him; but later when I read in Revelation 22:17 where the apostle John wrote, ‘The Spirit and the bride say come. . . ,' the call was so direct to me that I knelt by my bed and asked Jesus to become my Savior and forgive my sins."
"Well, did that help you?" said Jonas, who seemed defensive.
"It did help me. It was as if a door opened for me to come and adore the baby Jesus, but it also led me to see beyond His birth all the way to His cross and to His resurrection from the dead. There's something about His resurrection which compels me to want to live a Godly lifestyle."
"Goot fa dich," (good for you) Jonas spoke into the darkness. "For me it's not so easy. You didn't have to go through what I'm experiencing. Do you remember that my cousin, Levi, gave me the transistor radio so I could listen to Gospel preachers?"
"Yes, I remember."
"Well after we made hay last fall I snuck out to the hayloft where I'd hidden and was listening to a song-something about Jesus dying on the cross for me. Billy Graham had just come on when my old man caught me red-handed with the forbidden instrument. We had a big argument and he took it from me. I am still angry!"
"Calling your dad the ‘old man' is not very respectful." David reminded him.
"We haven't talked harmoniously since that occasion. I absolutely refuse to forgive him for what he did," Jonas said.
"We have to walk in forgiveness if we will receive God's forgiveness in our own lives. In the Lord's Prayer recorded in Matthew 6:12, we ask God to forgive our debts as we forgive others. Living in forgiveness is a must for God's children. I recently heard that nobody can hurt us unless we permit them to," David ventured.
"Now you're preaching at me. I don't need that!"
"I'm sorry if it sounds that way, but I am only sharing what the Word of God teaches us."
"I suppose now that you're reading your Bible, you think you have the right to throw the Word of God at me," Jonas exploded.
The two had reached the barn and were unhitching their horses. David didn't want to leave the evening's conversation on this note. He placed his hand on Jonas' shoulder and pled with him. "Please don't be angry with me. You can learn about God's Word the same way I am learning. I am reading my Bible and asking God to speak directly to me through it. I am not going to say that there may not be a day that I will be listening to sermons on the radio. I don't know that, but I find it important to use what I have at hand. Please forgive me if I have spoken out of turn."
"I'll think about it." Jonas turned away and climbed into his rig. David stood in silent prayer and watched his friend head down the road. "I don't know what lies ahead of me," he told himself. "I know I have some hard choices to make, and I pray I'll always walk in forgiveness."
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