UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

May 2006 Monthly Letter

Dear The Power of the Cross on April Fool's Day

Jesus prayed from the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

What if they did know what they were doing? Would they have been forgiven?

During breakfast, Bob introduced himself to me with this question: "How can I forgive myself for something I deliberate did in the past?' My response: "Do you see that cross in the corner? You'll soon find your answer when we come to it with a hammer and nails!"

The UpBuilding men's session always closes with a teaching on forgiveness. Colossians 2:14 is one key verse that is expounded. It states, "Having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this God set aside, nailing it to the cross."

Men come to a cross laid out on the floor, take a hammer and nails, and pray that God will cancel their debts and the debts of those who have sinned against them. They pound their nails as a specific act of faith that God has forgiven them and also enabled them to forgive others. This act of "cancellation" is recorded in the margin of their Bibles with an indelible ink stamp that says "Paid In Full" and has a _______for the date to be recorded.

Bob publicly related this story to all of us following his experience at the cross:

"Ten years ago I lived in a historical district of Charleston. It requires each resident to keep their property repaired and presentable. A man who lived down the street from me was a city inspector. He was always nit picking me to keep my property groomed in ways I didn't think was necessary. He was a 'pain-in-the-neck perfectionist.' One day I received a notice from the city reminding me to keep my house painted. I felt it was because of him.

I travel a lot. Because of my animosity toward him, I printed 100 labels with his name on them. At every airport I visited I found a magazine rack, tore out the subscription cards from them, and placed themailing labels on them! I would also check the box "Bill me later! It was with glee that I watched the mailman bring loads of mail to this inspector's home. (At this point Bob's face blushed with shame.)

One day when taking out the trash, my neighbor commented on my newly painted trim. He informed me that every 3 years the city automatically sends out a standard notice for everyone to paint anything that needs painting. It was then that I realized that I had judged this man falsely. I had knowingly sinned against an innocent man. He didn't know it was I who had caused him such non-stop anguish. I never confessed my sin to him or anyone.

This man died and I could not forgive myself. Today I began that process. My nail isn't driven all the way through the wood as yet, but it has begun. Thank you. I so needed this. I was meant to be here! April 1st has taken on a new meaning for me today. I was such a fool. Now I am a forgiven fool by the power of Jesus' finished work on the cross!"

Thank you for allowing me the privilege of representing you in presenting the liberating news of Jesus Christ and His power to be forgiven and to forgive others, even ourselves! support.

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