Together with a few friends, I had the privilege of visiting a small town in the mountains of western Canada. As part of the visit, we decided to find a local park for eating our lunch. After following signs to a picnic table, we arrived at a small museum, where the only picnic table was being used by a group of people who were slicing loaves of bread.
We decided to look for a grassy spot under a tree. Our tentative search was interrupted by a woman at the table who called out to us, "We have bread today!" We nodded politely and wondered why she had stated the obvious. Somewhat self-consciously, we decided to have a quick look at the museum.
A small sign at the entrance of the museum indicated that admission was by donation. I searched my purse for my wallet, with no quick result. Never mind; I'd make my donation on the way out. The tour guide was a sincere and intelligent young lady. She explained that the museum used to be a school building for the children of a group of Christians. Immediately I felt connected to this place. Noticing my enthusiasm, the tour guide recommended that we visit the grist mill down the road where her grandfather used to work. However, not even considering her suggestion, we left in a bit of a hurry. I forgot my donation. But I did pick up a pamphlet.
Later that day, I read it. In sober words, it described the persecution that the ancestors of these Christians had suffered. It mentioned that they had not only built a school, but also a grist mill that is still in use. Lastly, it explained that these Christians show their hospitality by sharing their bread with strangers.
With a shock I realized how disrespectful I had been. I had refused the bread that they had offered. I had declined the invitation to observe God's faithfulness as evidenced in the grist mill. Further, I had forgotten my donation of gratitude. I was guilty of sinning against my fellow believers in this small community.
Then a worse fear struck me. It was against God that I had sinned. When we mistreat God's children, we offend their heavenly Father. As David wrote:
Psalm 51:4a – Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight. (NIV)
But immediately after this painful realization, the Holy Spirit brought verse 10 to mind as a prayer for forgiveness:
Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (NIV)
Fortunately, the Lord does not hold grudges when His repentant people sin against Him and each other. He covers their sin with the blood of Jesus, and He promises them a new heart. The complete renewal is still to come, when we shall be sinless in heaven. But the foretaste here on earth, when we repent and confess our sins to the Lord, brings the blessing of knowing that we are forgiven!
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we who have confessed our sin thank You for having accepted the precious blood of Your Son as payment for our new hearts. We pray that in Your generosity, You will give us wisdom as we learn to walk to our new heartbeat, in step with the Spirit and our fellow believers. Amen.
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