Give and You Will Receive (26 October)

Be merciful just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands-all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.
Luke 6:36-38

Several years ago I discovered that a person whom I loved very much, and had often confided in, was a chronic liar and had lied to me about much of her life throughout our long friendship. I was emotionally broken and didn't know how to forgive her nor even if I could continue the friendship. Of course, I initially spoke to her about it, but this didn't help me. I was not able to let go of the hurt, even though I'd prayed often about it, and over time we drifted apart. The unforgiveness in my heart grieved me and gave me no peace. My prayers were hindered and my thoughts often floated to my hurts.

One day, I shared my problem with someone who had never met my friend. She said something extraordinary, "One day, you will understand how much this person needs you. Be available." Amazingly, just several weeks later, my friend phoned me sobbing on the phone after the death of a family member. She said, "I knew that I could always turn to you." And, she could. God had prepared my heart to be there for her in this time of need. As I comforted her, I realized how weak we all are, how vulnerable and needy. How could I withhold forgiveness from her when God has continually shown me forgiveness? We have the same merciful Father.

I had always thought that the verse, "Give to others, and God will give to you…" related to finances or other possessions, but in its context, it means give forgiveness, give mercy, give love no matter what the cost, and it will be returned to you. Mercy will run over abundantly to us as we show mercy to others through forgiveness.

"My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too. Help carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ. If you think you are something when you really are nothing, you are only deceiving yourself." (Galatians 6:1-3)

- 26 OCTOBER -

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