Summary: This is week six of my seven week series, I have used The Traveler’s Gift as a spring board and this week we are looking at forgiveness
He just kept right on smiling. It didn’t matter what they did or what they said he just kept right on smiling. They were American army officers and he was their Korean house boy, and for what ever reason they gave him a hard time about everything, he wasn’t fast enough, he wasn’t polite enough, he wasn’t good enough, but he just kept right on smiling. They had rented a house in Seoul and he was the servant, he cleaned, he cooked and he served and no matter how hard he tried he seemed to fail in their eyes. They ridiculed him and they humiliated him in front of their guests and he just kept on smiling. The more he smiled the more they seemed to be determined to break him and their humiliation of him got even worse if that was possible, but he just kept right on smiling.
One day a visitor came to the house, it was another American officer but he was cut from a different piece of cloth and he was horrified by the way his fellow officers were treating their house boy but he was also fascinated by the boys response, no anger, no tension, apparently no ill feelings and so after awhile he got the boy aside to find our what his secret was. “Why is it that no matter what the men say you just smile back?” he asked. “What is you secret?” The boy didn’t hesitate at all before responding “My secret is that every day, just before I serve them their dinner, I spit in their soup.”
Not bad, but not forgiveness. There are people here today who just keep right on smiling. They have been hurt by someone, and yet they don’t appear to let it bother them. A true Christian, it would appear that they have the Lord’s Prayer down pat where it says Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
At least that’s how they appear on the outside. But on the inside they are spitting in that person’s soup, everyday. And my friends that is not forgiveness. It may make us feel better but it doesn’t bring healing.
We’re are getting close to the end. For those who have been here over the past number of weeks you know that I have been using the book “The Traveler’s Gift” as a springboard for my preaching this summer.
To bring you up to speed if you’ve been at the cottage through July or if you are a guest today. The Traveler’s Gift is a novel written by Andy Andrews, the subtitle is 7 Decisions that determine personal success. As a young man traveling a self destructive path Andrews’ life was turned around after he began reading biographies of people he considered successful. His goal in his words was to answer the question “Is life just a lottery ticket, or are there choices one can make to direct his future?” After reading over 200 biographies Andrews determined there were seven characteristics that these “successful” people had in common. “What will happen,” he mused, “if I study these seven common denominators and harness them in my own life?”
Those seven characteristics became the central focus for The Traveler’s Gift. The lead character of the book, David Ponder through a series of unexplained circumstances has the opportunity to meet with seven historic figures who each give him one piece of advice. These pieces of advice or “Decisions” are meant to enhance Ponder’s life and make him a better person.
And so upon meeting President Harry Truman he is told to embrace the “Responsible Decision” that is to understand that he is where he is in life because of choices he has made. That applies to each one of us; at verious points in our life we chose how we would respond to our educational opportunities, what we would do for a living, who we would marry and how we would spend our money. Each of us is where we are in life today because of decisions we have made throughout our lives, we can not longer blame our family, our friends or our circumstances. And it is only when we accept responsibility for our past that we can take control of our future.
Secondly we are introduced to King Solomon in the “Guided Decision” and Solomon challenges Ponder to choice wisdom. So we looked at how when offered the desires of his heart Solmon chose wisdom and how we can gain wisdom in our lives. Through reading books, through the advice of others who are wiser than we are and by seeking God’s direction through prayer and reading his word.
From there Ponder travels ahead in time to meet Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, a 34 year old school teacher from Bangor Maine and a hero of the American Civil War. His heroic actions at the Battle of Gettysburg turned the tide for the Union troops and may very well have been the pivotal point in the War between the States, changing not only the history of the US but of the world. And in the “Active Decision” Chamberlain tells us to choose action. And we looked into Matthew’s Gospel to the story of Peter walking on the water, and how because he was willing to take a chance, to take a risk and to take action he alone among all the disciples experienced the impossible.