Forgiveness and Its Alternatives: A Quint of Quotes #6

Photo by Alex Shute on Unsplash

Dear fellow travelers,

Today’s Rewind Wednesday takes a quote I posted last year (do you know which one?), adds four more, and creates another “Quint of Quotes.”  These quints are five quotes somewhat related to each other, but not exactly in agreement.  Hope you find them interesting and thought-provoking.  Enjoy!

“You can have vengeance, or peace, but you can’t have both” – Herbert Hoover, after World War II

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” -Malachy McCourt, Irish-American actor, writer and politician

“Forgiveness is the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performs. It meets the greatest need; it costs the greatest price; and it brings the greatest blessing and the most lasting results.”  – Warren Wiersbe

“In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.” – Francis Bacon

If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who do good to you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.” – Jesus, in Luke 6:32-33

See previous Quints and other posts on quotes here.

Greetings to My Dear Fellow Travelers

Dear fellow travelers,

Have you ever wondered why posts here often start with that greeting?  But before that, why start with a greeting at all?  It started with an observation.

There are 27 New Testament books, and 17 start with the words “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” or something very similar.[1]  It wasn’t an accident, which made me wonder: Do I greet others with grace and peace?  Do I intentionally bring grace and peace to relationships with others?  In real-time interactions, certainly not as often as I’d like, but in a blog, where I have the time to be very intentional, why shouldn’t I be able to?  So, what would be an appropriate greeting for this blog?

“Dear fellow travelers” first came to mind because it communicates motion and relates to the name of the blog.  In Taxi Cab by twenty øne piløts, God tells Tyler, the song’s author, that “We’re driving toward the morning sun; Where all your blood is washed away; And all you did will be undone.”  Where we are is not where we will be and becoming Christian changes our destination forever.  We’re going to a different place, but if we focus too much on the circumstances of our time and not enough on the implications of eternity, we lose sight of the Lord who is our Savior, and of the grace and peace He provides.

“Dear fellow travelers” also reminds us of this grace and peace.  The apostles started their letters acknowledging up front that everyone needs grace, even the author.  We are all travelers in this community of faith, and we should be dear to each other.  In addition, when Paul, Peter, or John wrote of peace, they didn’t mean just a sentiment or feeling.  The word translated as peace is rooted in a Greek verb meaning “to join”.  God’s grace enables us to overcome what divides us and to join together in Him.  Through grace, we all fellowship as one and experience peace.  We’re all in the boat together, and with Jesus as the captain we can be confident in the destination.

Since blogs can reach people in any place and theoretically at any future time through the internet, the blog’s greeting needed to be inclusive.  Nations and cultures don’t each have their own gospel of Christ.  There is one gospel, and it applies within, and above, all nations and cultures.  Christians in all places and times are traveling through a place that is not their home, to a place where we will all be together in perfect grace and peace.

So, dear fellow travelers, let’s keep driving!  Let’s strive to bring grace and peace to every encounter we have as we travel through this world.

[1] Refer to Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:2, 2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 3, 1 Peter 1:2, 2 Peter 1:2, 2 John 3, and Revelation 1:4.

Give Everyone Some Longitude? – History Bit for July 8

On this date in 1714, the British Parliament passed the Longitude Act, offering prizes to anyone who could accurately measure longitude at sea.  Failure to measure longitude was causing massive economic damage from shipwrecks and piracy.  Galileo had established a method using Jupiter’s moons, generally accepted soon after his 1642 death, but it only worked on land.  Use of Galileo’s methods on land led to many maps being redrawn, “shrinking” France on maps and causing King Louis XIV to complain that he was losing more territory to astronomers than to his enemies.  At sea, the tossing of the waves, changes in the weather, and other factors made the problem more difficult, leading to the Longitude Act.  The problem was eventually solved by the chronometer, invented by self-educated carpenter John Harrison, who overcame resistance from multiple fronts, including religious leaders who, like Galileo, were convinced the solution was in the stars of the heavens, sometimes citing Bible verses like Psalm 19:1 – “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”  The Board of Longitude paid out over £100,000 for research and in prizes before disbanding in 1828.[1]

Science and religion each have a role to play in improving the lot of mankind on earth, but a lot of unnecessary conflict has come from either claiming a monopoly on worldly progress.  While “the heavens declare the glory of God,” the stars are also “for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.[2]  But that is not all they are for. They also declare that the world is not all there is, and that we are to love others as the Creator of the stars loves us.  Therefore, let’s all give each other some latitude, or even some longitude.

[1] Sobel, Dava.  Longitude (1995).
[2] Genesis 1:14

The Zealot and the Tax Collector

Mark 3:18 lists among Jesus’ 12 disciples “Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot.”

Matthew was a former tax collector for the Roman Empire, while Warren Wiersbe notes that “The Zealots were a group of Jewish extremists organized to overthrow Rome, and they used every means available to advance their cause. The historian Josephus called them ‘daggermen.’ It would be interesting to know how Simon the Zealot responded when he first met Matthew, a former employee of Rome.” They learned to prioritize following Jesus, but I suspect it took some time and patience on Jesus’ part.

No enemy of God is beyond His grace, and no enemy of yours is beyond His grace either!

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read this post from September about Zacchaeus, another tax collector Jesus loved: Found! A Man in Need of an Ally

Forgiveness: What We Need First and Most

“Forgiveness is the greatest miracle that Jesus ever performs. It meets the greatest need; it costs the greatest price; and it brings the greatest blessing and the most lasting results.” – Warren Wiersbe

Wiersbe’s quote applies universally, but the immediate reference was to Mark 2:5 – “And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'” Four friends of the paralytic could not get him to Jesus because of the crowds, so they lowered him through the roof. Jesus healed the man’s paralysis, but more importantly healed the man’s separation from God by forgiving his sins.

Among the gathered crowd were religious leaders – scribes – who perhaps came early to investigate this new rabbi who was attracting a following. They may have considered this their duty, as outlined in Deuteronomy 13, especially noting in verses 1-2 that prophets would arise, able to perform signs and wonders, but seeking to lead people to other gods. Unfortunately, they came to the wrong conclusion because Jesus did not fit their preconceived notions.

We all have notions that require forgiveness, including the notion that we don’t need forgiveness more than we need physical healing and assistance. Fortunately forgiveness is available in Him, as well as the sure hope of future healing.