The Silk Scarf and the Leather Jacket

When I was in junior high school in the early sixties, one of the coolest things a guy could have was a white silk scarf to wear with his leather jacket. Well, I was “lookin’ cool” in my new white silk scarf. It was a gift, and I was proud of it. I was in eighth grade, and I knew all the girls thought I looked good. I was tall and very, very thin. I had lots of hair and big feet. I must have looked like a Q-tip, but I still felt like I looked good. After all, who wouldn’t with a white silk scarf around his neck?

Each day after school I would stand outside waiting for my bus to arrive. I liked standing outside – just me and my scarf. We both looked good.

Then, one day it happened. A ninth grader, who had a black leather jacket but didn’t have a scarf, came up to me and told me how much he liked my scarf. Then he knocked me down and took it. I was mad, but he was big, so I did nothing. For weeks I watched him as he wore my scarf openly at school. He was big and strong, and he knew it. I didn’t dare approach him. Deep inside I hated him. Each day the hate grew.

After a while, school was out. He went on to high school and I stayed in junior high. I thought of my scarf from time to time and would think of ways I could hurt him. He humiliated me and took something I loved. He had no right.

Years passed. I went to college, got married, and started growing up. During those early years, I worked as a male nurse at a major hospital in Kansas City. One day one of my patients had a visitor. We stood together in the waiting room. He looked familiar. He looked at me and I looked at him. I could see in his eyes he recognized me. Then I remembered. He was the guy who took my scarf. But something had changed. He was about 5′ 8″ and thin. I was 6′ 4″ and medium build. The tables had turned.

I wanted to hate him, but I couldn’t. I tried to, but the hate just wouldn’t come. The only thing I could do was reach out and shake his hand. He flinched. He must have thought I was going to hit him. I laughed and asked him if he still had the scarf. He was scared to death, but I felt clean. God had removed the hate and love was in its place.

Only God can change hate to love. Only God can remove the darkness inside us and replace it with light. Only God can take a heart that is full of pain and replace it with a heart full of love and peace. Only God can heal the broken heart.

Jesus said in Mark 11:24, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” This verse sounds great, and it is true, but we must read God’s Word in context. The next verse says that if we have anything against anyone, we should forgive them, because if we don’t forgive those who have wronged us, we will not be forgiven by God.

Too many people are living their lives under the stress and pressure created by unforgiveness. As a Christian, we have the God-given power to forgive and all it takes is a decision. Even though it looks impossible and even though the hurts may be deep, if we can decide to forgive and step into forgiveness by faith, then God will empower us with His power to do what looks impossible.

If the wounds are deep and the scars are old, don’t believe the lie that you cannot forgive. Believe the truth. Jesus told us in Mark 9:23, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Step out in faith and the impossible will happen.

Devotion 0010

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