Resolution – The Way the Story Ends –
Yesterday I shared a story about fighting in the 7th and 8th grade with kids who teased me about my father losing his first election to the Detroit City Council. Today, I want to share with you the resolution, how the story ends. In 1965, my dad was successful in getting elected to the City Council. That, in and of itself shut up my classmates. My dad was historic in being the only African American to sit as a member of the City Council. That same year, the boy I fought the most with in the 8th grade went to one school and I went to another. So, we did not have much contact and the fighting ceased.
I never forgot his threat to kill me. In my twenties, his mother called and asked if I would perform his wedding. I agreed and on the appointed day went to his home to officiate the ceremony. This was early in my ministry and I always used a manual on ministry to perform weddings. That day, I rushed to his home, and in my hurry I forgot the wedding book. By this stage of my ministry I had already performed several weddings so I decided to “wing it” and do the wedding from memory. I struggled with remembering the words, but somehow got through it. To make matters worse, I kept day dreaming through the ceremony with the thought, “this is the guy who promised to kill me.”
A few years later, his mother called me again to inform me that he was sick in a hospital. I dropped what I was doing and went to see him. He was in bad shape in an intensive care unit. As I was praying over him, I thought to myself, “this is the guy who promised to kill me.”
Not long afterwards, he died. His mother called me and asked me if I would officiate his funeral. As I worked through the eulogy, I thought back to our youth, the fighting, the happy times, the neighborhood in which we lived, the fun times, school, sports and all the things you do as a peer with your friends. To be fair, there were times when I was cruel to him. For example, we had intermural basketball with the girls. Every chance I got, I would select a girl named Wanda Hunt. Wanda was tall and could jump better than most boys. Every time Wanda would snatch a rebound from him, I would fall out laughing and remind him that a girl could out-jump him. One of the reasons I always chose Wanda was because I did not want her to out-jump me! Smile. I could not get through the eulogy without thinking off and on, “this is the guy who wanted to kill me.”
So, I guess the story has a positive resolution. The fellow I once fought and teased ended up having a decent relationship with me. Now in my 41st year of ministry, I perform weddings from memory without a manual on ministry book. Every time I stand before the bride and groom, with the audience anticipating every move, my thoughts travel back to my youth when I choked a boy and he gasped, “Nicholas, I hate you. Nicholas, I am going to kill you.” I think about that boy, and the day I struggled to get through his wedding, and I thank God for every experience, every situation, every joy and every sorrow and every wedding I have performed that has brought me to this point in my ministry.
My faith is nothing compared to the matchless love of Jesus Christ. Jesus suffered, bled and died for our faith and through it all, he forgave his detractors saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This Lenten season, as we make our way to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I encourage you to forgive others as you draw closer to Jesus Christ, his mercy, grace and most of all, his love.
Luke 23: [34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing
Questions for Reflection:
- What are some of the most difficult aspects of forgiveness?
- What impresses you most about the forgiveness of Jesus?
Prayer: Lord, help me to forgive. Teach me to forgive those who intentionally sought to hurt me, defame me, and ignore me. Lord, I seek your strength. Lord, I seek your courage. Lord, I seek your forgiveness and the ability to forgive others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/
More about the Ministry, Missions, Photos and Publications from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Lk 23:33–34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.