So when I got home tonight, I checked the e-mail and got my daily letter from Chuck Swindoll. Appropriate to the topic, it included this:
Yesterday we read Jesus's parable of the king who forgave his servant---who then refused to forgive a fellow-servant. (You may want to read it again from Matthew 18:23-35.) From this parable, we learned that to refuse to forgive is hypocritical.
But there's a second lesson: to refuse to forgive inflicts inner torment upon us. Remember how the story ends? It is exceedingly significant. "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him" (Matthew 18:34).
"Well," you say, "that was just a parable. We can't press every point and say each little detail applies to us." Granted, but in this case, it's not a little detail. It's the punch line, the climax of the whole story. How can I say that? Because verse 35 is not part of the parable. It is a statement Jesus makes after the story ends. It is His penetrating application of the whole parable on forgiving others:
"My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." (Matthew 18:35)
So I shouldn't rant about them, the AWOL dems in Indiana and Wisconsin, the brain-unused armed robber of NE Ft. Wayne, or any of the million other things I want to take the big beating stick to, at least not to the point of wishing them harm. (yeah, I realize that ain't the whole story, but bear with me.) So how does one get back into a frame of mind that allows forgiveness to those the mind tells you desperately need a beating instead? Well, starting off, get home safely. Follow with a brisk man-and-dog trip to Scrappy's Landing and environs. Get a hot meal. Interrupt Jeopardy by tickle-attacking Laurie until Scrappy joins in (NEVER on MY side, mind you). Get a hot shower. Crack open a Pepsi, and commit yourself to the attempt to forgive the unlovable. At least in print. And save yourself one news item to laugh at. To wit:
WASHINGTON --Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has lost legitimacy to lead and he must leave, President Obama said Thursday as the Pentagon confirmed the Libyan "mad dog" was using air power to strike rebel forces who refuse to settle for less than his ouster.
"Let me just be very unambiguous about this: Col. Qaddafi needs to step down from power and leave. That is good for his country that is good for his people that is the right thing to do," the president said during remarks to reporters alongside Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
But Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may throw a wrinkle in U.S. and international ambitions offering to negotiate a way to salvage Qaddafi's regime through mediation between the Libyan dictator and the rebel National Libyan Council.
Venezuela's Information Minister Andres Izzara told Reuters that Libya had accepted a proposal "to work for a negotiated end to the conflict accompanied by an international commission." Izzara said Venezuela will discuss "formulas for peace in Libya" with Arab allies.
Rebel forces say no way.
"No one has told us a thing about it and we are not interested anyway. We will never negotiate with him," rebel spokesman Abdul Hafif Goga told The Guardian.
Does anyone else see this as a contest between Laurel and Hardy (Obama and li'l buddy Calderon) and Bevis and Butt-head (Qaddaffyduck and Hugo Fudd)? Chavez helping Qaddaffyduck out would be like, say, Castro teaching Stalin the fine arts of public oppression. Obama and Li'l Buddy stepping in to settle things would be like... well, like Obama and Li'l Buddy stepping in to settle things.
All right, I feel better for one more evening.