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Solihull's Faith Matters column

I WAS saddened to hear of last month’s suicide of the nurse who took the hoax phone call made by the two Australian DJs.

I WAS saddened to hear of last month’s suicide of the nurse who took the hoax phone call made by the two Australian DJs. My knee-jerk reaction was to think badly of the pranksters.

However, I quickly realised that although the prank was silly and yes, deceitful, the consequences could not have been foreseen.

The incident highlights how our words and actions, like a pebble tossed into a pond, have a ripple effect. The knock-on effect of what we say and do may cause harm as the ripples, or even waves, spread out in ever increasing circles. I find it is sobering that Jesus said we are accountable for every careless word we speak.

What a joy, what a relief, that the same Jesus offers forgiveness to us for every conceivable sin and its consequences. Do you recall the story of Joseph and how his brothers got rid of him?

They sold him. He found himself becoming a slave in Egypt. However, by the end of the story, when a severe famine struck, Joseph was well placed in Pharaoh’s court, becoming the deliverer of those same brothers and his father’s household also.

He summed up their actions and the resulting consequences by saying, ‘You meant it for harm but God meant it for good.’

Here is a call to faith; to believe not only that Jesus is able to forgive sins, but also that these same sins cannot outmanoeuvre God’s set purposes.

The fact is that the Christian message hinges on man’s evil being taken up by God and redeemed for good.

Just as Joseph was got rid of by his brothers and the action ended up being integrated into their salvation, so Jesus‘ contemporaries attempted to be rid of him through crucifixion. Yet the final outcome has resulted in salvation for all who will accept it. As the apostle Peter wrote, ‘He bore our sins in his body on the cross… by his wounds you are healed.’

Stephen Richards

Shirley Baptist Church

 

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