There are various ways to describe it: turning the other cheek . . . going the extra mile . . . doing good to those who hate us . . . loving our enemies. We may say it in different ways, but the action amounts to the same thing. By doing the unexpected, we accomplish a twofold objective: (1) we put an end to bitterness, and (2) we prove the truth of the age-old axiom, love conquers all. I’ve seen it happen over and over again.
Why are we so hesitant? What keeps us from doing the unexpected for the undeserving so that we might watch God accomplish the unbelievable? Because it goes against our human nature. Furthermore, it’s a major risk. Of course, that is where faith comes in: to believe the Lord against all odds and to obey Him even if the action backfires. But some of you are frowning, thinking, Yeah, that sounds good, but nobody could pull it off.
Rabbi Michael Weisser did. It happened in Lincoln, Nebraska, where for more than three years, Larry Trapp, a self-proclaimed Nazi and Ku Klux Klansman, spread hatred through mailings and ugly phone calls. Weisser became one of Trapp’s targets, receiving numerous pieces of hate mail and offensive phone calls. At first, the Weissers were so afraid they locked their doors and worried themselves sick over the safety of their family.
Then one day Rabbi Weisser decided to do the unexpected. He left a message on Trapp’s answering machine, telling the man of another side of life . . . a life free of hatred and racism.
Trapp was stunned. He later admitted, through tears, that he heard in the rabbi’s voice “something I hadn’t experienced. It was love.”
Slowly the bitter man began to soften. One night he called the Weissers and said he wanted out but didn’t know how. They grabbed a bucket of fried chicken and took him dinner. Before long they made a trade: In return for their love he gave them his swastika rings, hate tracts, and Klan robes. That same day Trapp gave up his recruiting job and dumped the rest of his propaganda in the trash. “They showed me so much love that I couldn’t help but love them back,” he finally confessed.
Christmas is right around the corner. How about giving the gift of forgiveness, a cup full of kindness, a sincere phone call of grace to someone who would never expect it and might not deserve it . . . with no strings attached? It’s risky . . . but you wouldn’t be the first to try it.
God’s gift to us came wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Talk about doing the unexpected for the undeserving!
Let’s give the gift of forgiveness and grace to those who don’t expect it or deserve it, with no strings attached.— Charles R. Swindoll Tweet This