Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fire in the belly

Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Luke 6:29

I have recently become aware of a treasure of an African parable. Ostensibly, I minister to women here in South Africa through Bible studies and prayer groups, but the reality is I learn far more from them than they learn from me. In one of our groups we were discussing how to handle it when someone hurts us, when one of the ladies shared this powerful illustration commonly taught in their culture.

The analogy is that turning the other cheek, or overlooking an offense, is akin to swallowing a very hot chile pepper that burns all the way down into your stomach. It is painful, but there, in the fire in your belly, is where the glory of God resides.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15

My South African sisters humble me with their obedience in forgiveness. Following the sacrificial example of their hero, Nelson Mandela, they have forgiven decades of the horrors of Apartheid here in South Africa. More than that, though, they follow the example of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who when being crucified on the cross to save us from our sins, lovingly said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
May the fire burn in my belly for your glory my Lord.

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