[ The Trumans - Forgiving Others ]

Everybody makes mistakes. Some are intentional… some by accident… but we are all surely going to make mistakes in our lives. Take note of the “we” in the above. ALL of us make mistakes, and sometimes the mistakes of others can affect us as well. The question we will ask here is how will you react to a situation where someone else’s mistake has a profound effect in your life? Well, Matt is going to face this in the current installment of the Trumans. Let’s see what happens.

“Alright, I think I have everything,” Matt said to himself, as he fumbled in his pockets. He looked around his room and took a mental inventory, “Keys, wallet, and my portfolio’s already in my car. I’m ready!”

Matt left his room and hurriedly rushed down the steps towards the front door.

“Bye Mom, bye Dad, I’m off to my job interview now! I’ll see you later!” Matt yelled.

“Alright, take care, and we’ll be praying for your success,” shouted his dad.

Matt backed out of the driveway and headed downtown. He pulled onto the entrance ramp and merged onto the expressway.

“Wow, traffic sure is busy on the Interstate today,” Matt thought to himself as he was driving, “I sure hope all these people aren’t headed to the same interview I am. I’m just glad that I left really early so I….

Just then a car seemingly came out of nowhere and almost side-swiped his car. Matt braked hard as the car narrowly missed his. He caught a glimpse of the driver who seemed oblivious to the potential disaster he had almost caused.

“WHOA… that guy almost hit me.” Matt exclaimed. He nervously merged into the slow lane to collect his wits.

As Matt had been passing a slower moving vehicle, the guy in the car alongside him switched lanes to also pass a vehicle and never looked to see if Matt’s lane was clear. It was a really close call, but Matt’s quick reaction saved what could have been a tragedy. Needless to say, Matt wasn’t in a very good mood after that. He noticed that quite a few other drivers around him had braked also in anticipation of a potential wreck, and were shaking their heads at the driver’s recklessness.

“Wow, what a jerk,” Matt thought to himself after the whole incident, “Who does that guy think he is, not paying attention and almost hitting me like that! Boy the nerve of some people.”

As he drove along in the slow lane, Matt began to cool down and regain his composure. The incident had left him a little shaky but he was beginning to feel a little better. As he drove along, he ran into a construction area where all the traffic needed to merge into one lane before the work zone. As soon as he could, he put on his turn signal and another driver waved him into the lane. Matt waved back a thank you, and as he came over the traffic slowed to a crawl. Of course, not everybody got over right away. Some of the cars kept driving on the shoulder to gain a few car lengths, but soon even the shoulder ran out and everybody needed to merge into the one lane.

“As soon as I get past this construction it should be smooth sailing,” thought Matt.

Most of the cars on the shoulder had merged over when Matt reached the merge point. But he noticed a car whose driver was really trying to get over into the lane, but none of the motorists would let him. He was honking his horn and trying to inch forward. but all the drivers would close the gaps and he was forced to wait.

“Hmm… I wonder why they won’t… hey! I recognize that car and that guy,” Matt thought to himself, “That’s the same guy that cut me off!”

Matt has to decide what he is going to do next. On the one hand, Matt can just pass by like everybody else because he wanted to get even with him. On the other hand, Matt can take the high road and forgive the man for almost hitting him and let him into the lane. This sounds like a tough one, so let’s consult the Bible and see what Yahweh says he should do.

One really good passage that fits the situation is in Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am Yahweh.”

Another appropriate passage is found in Matthew 6:14: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you.” We can see that Yahweh says we shouldn’t hold a grudge, and should be forgiving if someone does us wrong. We can also see that by forgiving others, Yahweh will forgive us for things we have done wrong. (And we ALL know we need it!) Now, let’s find out what Matt decides.

“Yeah, now’s my chance to get even with that guy,” thought Matt, “But… then again, that really isn’t very nice and it doesn’t feel right. Maybe he didn’t see me passing him, and even if he did cut me off on purpose, I shouldn’t act the same way he did to me. By doing so, I’d be stooping to his level, and I’m better than that. I think I’ll do the right thing and let him go.”

So Matt stopped and waved the man to go ahead of him. The man smiled and waved in appreciation and moved in ahead of him. Matt felt good about his decision as traffic opened up and he drove on to his destination.

Finally, Matt got to the job site for his interview with 15 minutes to spare. He quickly made his way into the office where the receptionist was sitting behind the front desk.

“Hello! May I help you?” she asked.

“Hello! Yes, my name is Matthew Truman, and I’m here for my interview with Mr. Grant.”

“Please take a seat, and he will be with you shortly,” replied the receptionist.

Matt sat down and a few minutes later a man came walking towards him.

“Hello, Matthew,” said the man, “My name is Jim Grant and I’ll be….” suddenly a look of recognition came across his face. “Aren’t you the guy that let me merge in traffic today?!”

“Uh… yeah, you know.., I think I am,” replied Matt, a little taken aback as he too recognized the man who had cut him off.

“Thanks for letting me go today, and I’m sorry about almost hitting you earlier. I wasn’t paying close enough attention, and I didn’t see you passing me. I was hurrying a little too much as I thought I might be late for this interview. I’m really sorry for the close call. You did us both a great favor with your defensive driving.”

“You’re welcome,” replied Matt, “It was just a mistake. We certainly all make them.”

“Well, thanks again,” said Mr. Grant, “You’re a very mature young man. Just the kind of young man we’re looking for! Now let’s get that interview started.”

What do you think might have happened if Matt hadn’t let him into his lane? Mr. Grant would have probably been late; that most likely would have made him very upset, and he might have been even angrier when he recognized Matt. How well do you think Matt’s interview would have gone under those circumstances? Not very well, I’d say. Instead, by being forgiving and taking Yahweh’s way, it looks like Matt has made a valuable impression.

In today’s world, everyone seems to be consumed with getting even, or taking count of bad things others have done to them, or repaying evil for some perceived evil. The next time someone offends you, go against the trend and do something different, something that Almighty Yahweh wants us all to do. As Yahshua forgave even those who impaled Him, take the high road and repay evil with good. (Its not called “the high road” by coincidence!)

Exercise: Can you think of other Scripture passages that might apply here? Discuss them with your family or friends and write them down so you won’t forget them. If you can, send them in a letter or an e-mail to us along with a short note explaining how you think they would have helped Matt make the right choice. We’ll print some of your passages and thoughts to help others (and the Trumans) in the future. May Yahweh bless and guide you every day!