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Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” [Ephesians 4:32]

The popular writer F.W. Boreham once lost patience with a difficult man name Crittingden, who said and wrote many critical words. Boreham, angered beyond endurance, finally wrote a flaming letter designed to sting and rebuke the complainer. He walked to the mailbox to post the letter. It was a lovely night for a walk, and he passed by the mailbox without dropping the letter in. He said to himself, “I’ll mail it on the way back.”

A quarter of a mile further on, he met a friend who said, “Poor old Crittingden is dead.”

Boreham was shocked. “Is he, indeed? When did this happen?” “Oh, he died suddenly—early this afternoon. It’s really for the best, you know. He’s had a hard time. You know all about it, I suppose?”

“No, I don’t.” “Oh, I thought everybody knew. He only had two children, a son and a daughter. The son was killed soon after his wife died, and the daughter lost her mind and is in the asylum. Poor old Crittingden never got over it. It soured him.”

Boreham returned to his fireside that night, humbled and ashamed. He tore the letter into small fragments and burned them one by one. And as he knelt before the blaze, he prayed that he, in days to come, might find the grace to deal gently and lovingly with difficult people. Even as his wished they might have the grace to treat him.

Diane Hale for the past 30 years has served as evangelist, trainer, teacher, mentor, and consultant for churches of many denominations. www.uniquebydesign.org

June’s Rooted in Christ theme is Gentleness.

Reading God’s Story Schedule today, 6/24/13: Pray and meditate over last week’s scripture reading.

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