forgiveness

“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

— Luke 23:34

THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT

Printed on every receipt, L.L.Bean’s return policy reads: “Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L.Bean that is not completely satisfactory.” It’s true, this is exactly what L.L.Bean means. There are countless stories about people returning things many years later and getting their money back. No questions asked and no hassles. Live Christmas wreaths that have turned brown or slippers worn out in the sole—L.L.Bean will refund you your money.

“Successful businesses index to trust and an attitude of forgiveness.”

Sure there has been abuse. You can read about these stories on the Internet. L.L.Bean sees it differently. They see a customer they have to satisfy. Each employee knows the rules and issues a credit with no questions asked. Successful businesses index to trust and an attitude of forgiveness. They avoid judging their customers and look for ways to give their customers the benefit of the doubt. They surely know there is abuse, but they look the other way. They look to satisfy and put themselves in their customers’ shoes. They believe in their customers and have done so for over 104 years. They remain one of America’s most successful retailers.

“Forgiveness is one of the major tenets of Christian belief.”

Jesus likewise implores us to have a forgiving heart. A heart that does not judge, but searches for a different view. With this attitude we take a position that all people have value. That people make mistakes, not because of inherent evil, but because of a lack of knowledge. Jesus says, “They don’t know what they are doing.” By admitting this, we make it easier to forgive. We assign a value of humanity to the individual. We avoid the argument of telling someone he or she is wrong. Instead, we provide an example of Christian action. Forgiveness is one of the major tenets of Christian belief. It removes judgment and seeks an understanding of the offender. For L.L.Bean, the customer is always right.

“Businesses with the most lenient return policies are also the most successful.”

How many of us have been duped? We know the cost, and it is the most difficult position to be put in as a business. A position where we have to make a decision out of anger or out of kindness. But what if we knew more about the offender’s backstory? What if we knew about why the person acted that way on this day? What caused him or her to behave in a way we found offensive? Businesses that have a reputation of good customer service choose to give their customers the benefit of the doubt. They know there might be abuse, but they also know they have to forgive. Businesses with the most lenient return policies are also the most successful. Their hearts are aligned with the adage “The customer is always right.”

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How many chances do we give people?

How many should we?

Do we know the rest of their story?

cloud over the ocean

“Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”

— Luke 22:46

STAYING AWAKE

As we passed each hurdle in our recovery at Foot Locker, I would often rest and reflect on what we had just accomplished. But as with any company in recovery, danger lurked around every corner. Inevitably, Giovanna Cipriano would come to visit and tell me about the next obstacle. I would become crestfallen and want to give up. But Giovanna was always clear that here was what we needed to do. I would eventually listen, gather up the team, and tell them about the next hurdle. They would grumble, saying things like “Here we go again.” A new goal was created and we had another trial to get through. We always grumbled and complained. But we always got through the trial.

“Her efforts to keep us awake were critical to our success.”

Giovanna was our lookout. An extraordinarily smart executive. She was promoted to being our chief accounting officer before the age of thirty. She was always on guard for danger and very adept at spotting trouble ahead of its arrival. Not only did she have my respect, but she had that of her peers and our board. She was always right. Her efforts to keep us awake were critical to our success. While I dreaded seeing her in my office, I knew after a certain amount of grumbling that I would have to respond. We survived because she kept us awake.

“Jesus tells us to get up and act. He knows danger is lurking around the corner.”

Jesus gives us very sound business advice: Stay awake, so that you don’t get into trouble. He implores us to act. Jesus tells us to get up and act. He knows danger is lurking around the corner. In warning us he gives us three directives. First, don’t fall asleep, don’t become satisfied with yesterday. Second, act, be aware of the importance of staying busy, continuing to work hard. Third, pray faithfully, petition God to protect us and guide us in our honorable activities, pray that we remain vigilant, active, and purposeful. In this remedy, we can avoid trial.

“Eventually, we were no longer financially troubled and actually thriving.”

At Foot Locker, it seemed that for three years we were always jumping to fix one crisis after another. After each of these events, there would be a period of relief, where we could take a respite. This was usually followed by Giovanna telling us about something new that threatened our existence. Eventually, we were no longer financially troubled and actually thriving. However, while our dangers became more spaced out, they still existed. Giovanna still warned us, we still acted. We thrived.

Jesus give us our remedy. To stay vigilant, to remain active, and to pray. With all of this we begin to avoid times of trial.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What are our trials and how could they have been avoided?

How do we stay awake?

hot air balloons

“. . . but I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

— Luke 22:32

TURNING BACK

In the early thirties of the last century, Germany was mired in fourteen years of hyperinflation, political turmoil, and poverty, as a result of World War I. What emerged was a Nazi regime that slowly gained control over their society, led by Adolf Hitler. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a young Lutheran theologian, stood up against this acceptance of the Nazis. He preached against them in the great Lutheran church in Berlin. Over time, the Nazis seized control of the Lutheran Church and were able to have the Catholic Church look away.  In response, Bonhoeffer helped start a new church, called the Confessing Church. He organized a clandestine seminary to train young German pastors. In time the Nazi regime then closed the seminary and tightened its grip on every aspect of German life. Fearing for Bonhoeffer’s safety, his friends encouraged him to go to New York City, were he would be safe. He went.

“Bonhoeffer could not shake the thought that he needed to turn back.”

While in New York, however, he remained unsettled. In spite of his wide acceptance and support by leading  American theologians, Bonhoeffer could not shake the thought that he needed to turn back. He returned to Germany in 1939 and continued to speak out against Hitler. He was part of one of many attempts to overthrow the Nazi regime. Captured finally, he was thrown into prison, but he continued his ministry there, with both the other prisoners and the guards. In fact, many of the guards went to Bonhoeffer for spiritual help. Two weeks before the end of the war and the elimination of Nazi rule, he was executed. His executioner described his death as one of peace. A peace the executioner had not witnessed before. Bonhoeffer had turned back.

“Giving up our safety for a noble cause is a hard decision, made easier when we follow the ways of Christ.”

Hidden in today’s verse are the words spoken to Peter by Jesus, “. . . and you, when once you have turned back . . .” Jesus knew that Peter would turn away. He was also sure Peter would turn back. He knew the crisis in faith would occur. Jesus knows that it will occur in each of us as well. Giving up our safety for a noble cause is a hard decision, made easier when we follow the ways of Christ. We want to be safe, but are left with a nagging feeling. We know we have let someone down. Our character fights with us. We are unsettled until we turn back and complete our task. When we do, we strengthen ourselves and others.

“…we all will have to turn back and confront our foe.”

Most people don’t have to confront the terror of Nazi Germany. But we will all have something we need to turn back to. A troubled friend or perhaps a difficult business situation, but we all will have to turn back and confront our foe. Jesus knew Peter would turn away and come back. Bonhoeffer also could never escape his mission. Similarly, we all have that thing that we need to turn back to. Maybe it isn’t as dramatic, but it nags us.  Our peace will only come when we turn back.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What situations do we have to turn back to?

What holds us back?

Why does going back soothe us?

helping others

“But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the one who serves.”

— Luke 22:26

SERVANT LEADERSHIP

In 1978 Betty Ford’s family confronted her about her alcoholism and addiction to opiates. In her memoirs she later stated, “I liked alcohol, it made me feel warm. And I loved pills. They took away my tension and pain.” Here was a former first lady admitting her addiction. A person well regarded for her social activism and grace. She had been trapped. She entered rehab and emerged into recovery. Behind her life as a social activist, a recovered breast cancer survivor, and an abused wife in her first marriage, was a hidden life of booze and drugs. The pressures of her past and present had driven her into the trap.

When my daughter was in her early teens, she asked me, “How many people work for you?” I replied, “Thousands.” She replied back, “It must be fun to boss that many people around.” Little did she know, when you manage a very large organization you have to make adjustments almost hourly. Each person you meet has a different need, and no one management style works universally. You develop knowledge about the people and respond the way that is most effective for the person to get his or her job done. Sometimes it is gentle coaching. Sometimes it is frank talk. But it is always different. Leading a large organization is definitely not “one size fits all.”

“However, when you tell people where you are going, and not how they have to get there, they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

I noticed over the years that managers who require people to perform their way can be effective, but are very limited in what they can accomplish. They are good at getting very specific things done, but their style keeps them from moving beyond that. They often find themselves exhausted and frustrated. The task of getting everything done your way requires constant follow-up and a lengthy “to do” list. However, when you tell people where you are going, and not how they have to get there, they will surprise you with their ingenuity. As a manager, I always found it easier to find people their resources and give them the freedom to do their job. Sure, you will get disappointed here and there, but the breadth of what you can manage will grow.

“We get our greatest life pleasure by helping others succeed.”

Jesus stresses this in today’s verse. That we are here to serve, that rewards don’t come from being served. When we think of people we admire, we usually think of servers, like Mother Teresa or my friend Roger, who donates his dental experience, or Geoff, who started an inner city after school program. Jesus knew that the human condition is that we aren’t truly satisfied unless we are in service. We get our greatest life pleasure by helping others succeed. Our best memories are of those times we served. We cringe when we insist on our own way. We are left unsatisfied.

“In our work life we get our greatest sense of accomplishment watching others succeed.”

In our work life we get our greatest sense of accomplishment  watching others succeed. Helping others be successful gives us self-satisfaction. At the same time, it allows our organizations to grow. Servant leadership requires us to adapt. It requires us to be in the background. It requires us to leave our ego home. But the reward is a sustainable and productive workplace. Jesus asks us to not think of ourselves too highly. He knows that a controlling, do-it-my-way management style is very limited. Serving and helping people with resources is usually all we need to do.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What is our management style?

What prevents us from serving?

Do we think about serving or commanding?

ocean

“. . . and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.”

— Luke 22:11–12

AUDACIOUS REQUESTS

I remember seeing her, Beth Caulfield, in class at Drew University Theological School . I immediately knew she was from the business world. My old world. She was dutiful, serious, and committed to learning her new craft. I knew she would get an A. She did. Later, after we graduated, I received an assignment to assemble and hire the best Methodists in New Jersey for a new group being set up to help the larger church. The existing clergy gave me over fifty names to interview. I needed to hire five. I personally talked with all that were on the list and began to hire the five I thought were the best fit. Then Beth called and asked if she could interview. But she hadn’t been on the list. She persisted and I conducted one more interview.

“She wasn’t part of the crowd, but she knew that wasn’t important. What was important, she knew she could help.”

We hired Beth. But she hadn’t been recommended by the clergy, I was told. They also told me she was pushy and not part of the crowd. True she didn’t speak their language. True she was from a faraway place, called the business world. She wasn’t pushy, she was using her skills learned in another world. She wasn’t part of the crowd, but she knew that wasn’t important. What was important, she knew she could help. She wasn’t afraid of disappointment. Her past had told her to ignore rejection. Her past had told her to ask. But her past had also told her to be polite and humble. She was only following rules she had learned in a different place.

“Jesus knows that when we serve God faithfully, we are not disappointed.”

Imagine Jesus sending a few people into town to ask for a room. A room where he would meet for the last time on earth with his disciples. A request that we might view as audacious. But not to Jesus. He knew there would be no disappointment. He knew that the room was to serve God. Jesus knows that when we serve God faithfully, we are not disappointed. God emboldens us to make the request, and the request will be granted. Jesus did meet in this upper room. Beth did get her job.

“Fear of disappointment is the biggest obstacle to success.”

Fear of disappointment is the biggest obstacle to success. It is the fear of being rejected. Perhaps even humiliated. We all confront it every day. We have to ask and we get nervous. Rejection is a very high form of humiliation. Jesus modeled the ability to ask without fear. He put his purpose ahead of disappointment. His goal was divine and his request fit a practical need. In business, we don’t always have divine goals, but we always have goals. When our goals help our neighbor, our customers, or our company, we should ask. When our goals are honorable, we should ask. Our own fear of disappointment prevents us from asking, but Jesus modeled how to request, and Beth followed.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

What do we fear when we ask?

Is our request honorable?

How do we ask?

tulips

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.”

— Luke 21:34–35

RECOVERING FROM LIFE’S TRAPS

In 1978 Betty Ford’s family confronted her about her alcoholism and addiction to opiates. In her memoirs she later stated, “I liked alcohol, it made me feel warm. And I loved pills. They took away my tension and pain.” Here was a former first lady admitting her addiction. A person well regarded for her social activism and grace. She had been trapped. She entered rehab and emerged into recovery. Behind her life as a social activist, a recovered breast cancer survivor, and an abused wife in her first marriage, was a hidden life of booze and drugs. The pressures of her past and present had driven her into the trap.

Later, she set up the famous Betty Ford Center. In its time it became the go-to place for addiction recovery. Over one hundred thousand people emerged from the center into recovery. Betty Ford’s public admission of her situation helped others take the first steps to recovery. But Betty Ford was more than this. She inspired people with breast cancer. She fought for women’s rights by lobbying for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. In 1991 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Jesus tells us to be on guard for life’s addictions, of all kinds.”

Jesus tells us to be on guard for life’s addictions, of all kinds. He calls it a trap that arises unexpectedly. He also tells us that all will be confronted. None will escape the battle.  Even first ladies of great character. It can become an embarrassing moment in our lives that we try to conceal. In this concealment, we lose the resources of friends who will help. We conceal our addiction from God, who will help. We fight alone against a dangerous foe. Our embarrassment prevents our resources from coming to our aid. We become trapped. It is inevitable that we all encounter this part of life in one form or another.

“Our prayers, friends, and most importantly our recognition of our addictions become our shield.”

How do we win against addiction? Jesus says through prayer. Praying for strength to escape these things. But it starts with our first admitting that we are being confronted. We extend this recognition into prayer. We allow others in on the secret, as Betty Ford did. Our prayers, friends, and most importantly our recognition of our addictions become our shield. There will be those who judge, but they will have their turn. They will need help in some distant future. We press forward balancing judgment against recovery. Recovery is stronger, judgment is weaker.

When we emerge into recovery, we can renew our lives and begin the task of being a shining light.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Is addiction just drugs and alcohol?

What are other addictions?

How do we fight back?

woman in field

“For I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.”

— Luke 21:15

POWERFUL WORDS OF TRUTH

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in 1818. As a youth he became obsessed with learning to read. Thanks to the wife of his slave owner, he was able to. Later he would read the New Testament to the other slaves, teaching them the Gospel. When his masters discovered this, they broke up his activity and he was sold to another master. Frequently subject to beatings, he desired a different life. A free black woman, Ana, met Frederick and used her life savings to help him escape dressed as a sailor. They moved to New York and were married for over forty years. They had five children.

Frederick Douglass said, “Right is of no sex—Truth is of no color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.”

Frederick was not satisfied with just his freedom. He became a leading orator in the anti-slavery movement. His oratory compelled many to turn against the practice. He was universal in his views of human rights. Frederick Douglass said, “Right is of no sex—Truth is of no color—God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren.” While a great supporter of the anti-slavery movement, he also fought for the right of women to vote and many other humanitarian causes. Later his oratory gave him access to American presidents. He pressed Lincoln to move faster on abolishing slavery. He traveled to Europe to speak about human rights. But many were against him, falsely using the Bible to justify slavery, creating images of slaves as inferior. Frederick Douglass spoke against all this, and is now long remembered, while his adversaries are long forgotten.

“Truth takes longer to brew, but is always a lasting brew.”

Many times in our business lives we see a different way. Perhaps we see corruption or something that causes harm to our customers. It is in these times that Jesus says he is there to help. He will give us the words to say. Words that seek truth. Words that lead others to see a better way. Words that promote a different view. Speaking these words requires conviction and a sense of love for our opponents. The truth is hard to contradict without opponents indicting themselves. Truth takes longer to brew, but is always a lasting brew. This is Jesus’s promise, that we will have the words. Our hearts and minds have to be ready for the words. Our courage, ready to speak the words. Jesus has the words. We have to ask.

Frederick Douglass was successful in his cause because he was singular in his fight. But his words were of universal freedoms. His words were spoken truthfully and not colored by agenda. His heart, too, was directed universally. Frederick Douglass’s color symbolized a great specific injustice, but his voice became that of all injustice. In our business world injustice exists as well. Maybe not to the degree of slavery or the right to vote. But it does affect our customers and fellow workers.

There is a way to speak the truth. The right words. They exist. Jesus gives us these words. Jesus gives us our love. Combined they create truth and change.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Where in our lives could we use the words of Jesus?

How do we speak them?

What can become the outcome?

waiting for harvest

“As for these that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon the other; all will be thrown down.”

— Luke 21:6

REBUILDING THE STONES OF LIFE

Jimmy Carter, our former president, in the late seventies, left office defeated by Ronald Reagan. Upon leaving, he went home and slept for twenty-four straight hours, exhausted from his four years as president. He had endured chronic shortages of gasoline, uncontrollable inflation and interest rates, and the healing of the nation from the Watergate scandal. His last year was mired in the tragedy of hostages held in Iran against their will. In spite of all his efforts, they were not released until after he left office. What had promised to be a presidency of change and national renewal ended with failure.

“In 2002, Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of untiring efforts to find solutions to international conflicts.”

Jimmy Carter, a soft-spoken Christian, was well known for his honesty and ability to find difficult solutions to most problems. Jimmy Carter turned his life to helping other nations and the poor of our country. Future presidents would use him to help with difficult negotiations in foreign affairs. He became a driving force in Habitat for Humanity. Using the Carter Center as his platform, he got involved in numerous humanitarian efforts. He became one of America’s most successful former presidents. In 2002, Jimmy Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of untiring efforts to find solutions to international conflicts.

“Our most important assets are our God-given abilities, our experience, and our faith.”

Jesus points out that change is inevitable. Very seldom do we stay in the same place. Many times change strips us of who we were; it bares us to a life of uncertainty. We are left without a past we can count on. At this crossroads we have to decide to try another way. Go in another direction. Our most important assets are our God-given abilities, our experience and our faith. From here we can either try to regain the past or move forward to a new life. The stones of the past have been thrown down. Our lives are begun anew.

“With God in our lives, our future lies in front of us and our past becomes a forgotten road.”

Jimmy Carter always dreamed about being a great president, but ended up humiliated and beaten when he left office. With the encouragement of his wife, Rosalynn, and his deeply rooted faith, he struck out again to try another way. His new way worked. Many times we have to try a new way. Our lives that seem permanent are not. Many times God puts us at these crossroads. It is here that we have to try a different path, ignoring the bad from the past and remembering our gifts. With God in our lives, our future lies in front of us and our past becomes a forgotten road.

The stones of our life become rebuilt.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

How permanent is today?

How do we and can we change?

What qualities, given to us by God, help in this transition?

walking reflection

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

— John 4:24

WHICH WAY DOES OUR MIRROR POINT?

One of my clients was debating about starting a partnership and was seeking an opinion. From hearing about his potential partner from my client, I told him I believed it would be a fruitful relationship. The potential partner was smart, had good experience, and would help with the initial required working capital. However, while these are great starting points, they are not the final answer. The answer lies in which way his mirror points. In other words, when you engage in a conversation, does what you say come right back to you or are your partner’s responses thought through? Will differences of opinion with this partner end up right back in your lap? Does the other person take a shared accountability for the relationship or just turn the mirror back?

“Everything always starts out well in partnerships, but the inevitable disagreements will arise. It is this part of the partnership that determines success.”

All partnerships will have disagreements. Marriages, friendships, and business arrangements are all partnerships. Everything always starts out well in partnerships, but the inevitable disagreements will arise. It is this part of the partnership that determines success. When we have a partner who takes our input, reflects on our point of view, and responds with logical conclusions, we feel that we have a voice, even if our partner doesn’t agree with everything we say. But when our concerns are just pointed back to us, we don’t feel like we have a voice. We ask for a conversation and we get back criticism. The conversation has generally ended at the point that the mirror is turned back. The conversation becomes one of deflection, not resolution. When this happens, the truth gets buried and the trust bank gets a withdrawal.

“When we communicate with God in the back of our minds, it is easy to be truthful.”

Jesus points this out in the Book of John. If we want to have truth in our relationships, it must come from a spirit of being truthful. When we communicate with God in the back of our minds, it is easy to be truthful. This strengthens our partnerships. Our mirror is then always pointed to ourselves. When we deflect difficult conversations back to the other person, we aren’t searching for the truth, we are searching for our way.

As my client and I discussed his potential partner’s mirroring ability, he came to the conclusion that his partner had his mirror pointed the right way. In their past, conversations had been mutual. Disagreements were resolved without getting personal. They focused on the issue and not the person. There was an interchange searching for the truth. His partner usually responded by first telling my client what he agreed with and then where he was concerned. In turn he would ask my client for his thoughts. This process would go back and forth until they reached an agreement. Both parties had a spirit of searching for the truth. Neither had a mirror of deflection.

“Any work that is meant to help others and gives glory to God has sacred value.”

Hard work is important. It is better than plans that are left undone. But hard work whose purpose is to help someone else is more meaningful. It makes our businesses stronger. Our customers will notice this subtle difference. The attitude seeps into our work and becomes the light of that work. Hard work that is done with thought of giving glory to God inspires us to not miss any detail. It makes our work more sacred. It makes us try harder. We are doing our work  in a holy manner. Any work that is meant to help others and through our efforts give glory to God has sacred value. Like John’s samples, it serves to inspire.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Who do we work for?

Do we work harder when our work is for someone else and for God?

“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found.”

— Luke 15:32

A REMARKABLE STORY OF A RETURN TO HIS FAITH, BY A CONVICTED FELON

Mike Anderson went into a Burger King with a gun and robbed the fast-food restaurant. He was arrested, and at his court hearing he was sentenced to thirteen years in jail. The judge allowed him to be released on bail, and he was told he would be notified when to show up to serve his sentence. However, a clerical error resulted in Mike never receiving a date. He did not return to a life of crime. Instead he returned to a life of faith. He started his own construction business. He volunteered at church and with youth football. He got married and had three children. He was well liked in his community.

“Within ten minutes, the judge granted Mike credit for the time he should have been in prison. Mike walked out of court with his wife and daughter a free man.”

Thirteen years later the clerical error was discovered and Mike was sent to prison to serve his time. His story received national and international coverage. People created a petition and garnered thirty-five thousand names. Within a year, Mike was standing before a judge at a court hearing to discuss his release. Within ten minutes, the judge granted Mike credit for the time he should have been in prison. Mike walked out of court with his wife and daughters a free man.

“Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son as an example of redemption, forgiveness and a return to a life of faith.”

Today’s verse is from the famous story of the Prodigal Son. Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son as an example of redemption, forgiveness and a return to a life of faith. It is a story of a young man who squanders his wealth and lives an improper life. Like Mike Anderson he was on the wrong path. The Prodigal Son, like Mike, realizes he was lost. In seeking a change, the son returns to his father and confesses that he was headed down the wrong path. The father joyfully welcomes his son back.

“Without forgiveness, their turning towards a faithful life would have been lost.”

These two stories tell the obvious tale of a person who has sinned and gets a second chance. In Mike’s case the second chance is a story of a complete return to his faith in God, which was interrupted by the discovery of a clerical error. But in both stories the men recognize that they were far removed from where they needed to be and a life of faithful living. Consider, how would these stories have ended without forgiveness? What if the judge had gone strictly by the law? What if the father had not accepted the Prodigal Son’s remorse? Without forgiveness, their turning towards a faithful life would have been lost. Both Mike and the Prodigal Son needed to change and return to their faith, they also needed forgiveness.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Can we recover what was lost and then found?

What are our life experiences where we needed to turn to a faithful life and to be forgiven?

How quickly does God forgive if we trust and have faith in God?