ODJ: forgiving the offender

June 6, 2015 

READ: Numbers 21:4-9 

Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed! (v.9).

During his final pizza delivery of the night, three young men robbed and pistol-whipped 19 year old Brady (causing a gash on his head that required 70 stitches). Fast forward 5 years. In June 2014, Brady and one of the young men who had assaulted him are the best of friends! Brady, a believer in Jesus, reached out to Marcellous—extending forgiveness and friendship. Marcellous credits Brady for helping him to finish secondary school and leave gang-life behind.

Brady’s forgiving ways remind me of the forgiveness of God. For instance, during their lengthy trek from Egypt to the Promised Land, the Israelites’ behaviour became offensive to Him. “The people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses” (Numbers 21:4-5). God used snakes to discipline His disobedient people. And soon, acknowledging their offensive behaviour, they cried out to Moses, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take away the snakes” (v.7).

God, showing forgiveness and grace, provided a way for the people to be healed of the snakebites. If they would simply look up at a bronze snake that He had Moses create and place on a pole, they would be made well (v.9). God’s loving forgiveness was on full display!

Brady also displayed God’s forgiving ways. The brutal attack he endured caused him to lose a shot at a basketball scholarship, and it led to 3 difficult years of physical therapy for post-concussion syndrome. His forgiving heart, however, reflects Jesus’ own. For Jesus was lifted up on a cross so that all who look to Him for spiritual healing will be forgiven (John 3:14-15). He chose to forgive offenders like us.

—Tom Felten

365-day-plan: Luke 1:5-25

Read Luke 23:34 and consider what Jesus saw in the people He chose to forgive. 
How does Brady’s example encourage you to reach out to those who have offended you? What amazes you about the way God chose to provide forgiveness for our sins?