God's word in today's world

Cricket ball on the new Renault’s bonnet

After the last couple of times about forgiveness, I feel compelled to tell this story about Johan  (not his real name). Priceless, but a lesson for all of us…

Yeah, it’s really nice if you apologise and your apology is accepted, but is also feels great to be able to forgive others.

For 18 years I drove a kind of blue-green Opel to work and back. Eventually, its breakage costs rose sky-high. The Opel could take a 90 degrees corner by itself, you just had to let go of the steering wheel. Its heater didn’t work. On winter mornings, your skull and brain became a block of ice at 90km/h by the time you reached work. In summer that little car was worse than a gas stove, because it had automatic windows – no need to turn the handle, the window fell into the door by itself.

That little car put children through school, through university and, financially, kept me from prison. But the full toolbox had to be in the boot all the time.

One day on the way into town my wife saw an advertisement on the back window of another car “Drive new, only R999/m.” The calls were made, sms messages sent, and final arrangements quickly made. Monday morning at work one those ladies who talk English with an Asian accent at 250 words per minute called about all the different cars available. After 15 minutes I realised she was selling me my new car, but all I wanted was the newest one with the least amount of kilometres.

You see, my Opel’s was far beyond 300 000 km and had driven to the moon and back.

Wednesday a shiny new Renault, aircon, few kilometres, electric windows and a manual as thick as my large script Bible was waiting at home. Thursday and Friday I drove to work, no problems. Saturday my son came from Pretoria to adjust the radio and to show me how the speed control worked and all of those difficult things.

Sunday we went to church and back and I parked my shiny new car in our yard next to the wall. I had just relaxed in my chair, when my wife called: “Your pastor wants to talk to you.”
With a frown I got up. The gate opened and Edward, (not his real name) our recently qualified, recently appointed young pastor, came in.

”Sorry Sir” he greeted, while my wife walked past me to my shiny new Renault. When I saw the red circle on the bonnet, I knew: cricket ball!!!

Edward had been invited to lunch with the neighbours and was playing cricket with their sons. The ball went over the ball and the evidence was on my shiny new Renault’s bonnet.

“Sorry Sir,” I heard far away, “I will have everything repaired, Sir.”
And I think and think.

Edward ran back to the neighbours, grabbed a cloth and rubbed and rubbed: “There you go, Sir. All right, Sir”.
I could see the dent clearly: “Edward, rub and feel!” I said out loud.

My wife held onto me. She knows me.

Edward rubbed again and felt the dent: “Sorry, Sir. I’ll get it repaired, Sir”.

I turned around and walked away. Before the church elder hit the pastor.

Monday the panel beaters quoted me an enormous price for the repairs. I knew Edward was not earning much – the community was small. Should the church council pay or should I?

I thought for a long time.

Today, I proudly drive around with a dent in my Renault – it was good to forgive and forget.

May we all look back one day and take pleasure in the times that we forgave.

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