“We all know givers and takers and (as a) matter of fact, we’re all givers and takers,” he began. Lupo read Luke 22: 24-27: “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat? But I am among you as he that serveth.”
Lupo said Jesus is pointing out to his disciples that he’s the “servant lord,” which is opposite of each other like sweet and sour food and so Jesus is the “Servant Lord” — a paradox, he said. “What Jesus said about being givers instead of takers is something worth considering — that when we talk about givers, we usually think of one who makes a large charitable contribution, however a giver can be anyone, who throughout his day and vocation simply gave; we all have the opportunity to give and we’re all givers and takers,” he said. “The important profile is that Jesus wants us to be a servant.” He added, “A servant is the model that our Lord left for us, to be a servant and a giver.”
Lupo led the group with the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and Alexander Delk gave the opening prayer.
Guest speaker Bettie Marlowe from the Cleveland Banner introduced her topic, “How to be Healthy” through forgiving. She said, “Unforgiveness can cramp us, cripple us and cause us to be unhealthy physically and spiritually.” She quoted from Matthew 18:21/22, when Peter asked, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?”
But Jesus said, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”
“There’s no limit to how we can forgive,” Marlowe said. “You can’t just say, ‘I forgive,’ you might of tried that, I have, it won’t work, because in our human nature we cannot forgive unless the grace of God is working in us. Forgiveness costs. Forgiveness from Christ, it cost him dying on the cross.” she said.
“The one who forgives is the one that it costs. It cost God the giving of his ‘only begotten Son,’ but the forgiveness extended further than the saving of mankind.”
But we come down to our own selves — saying the hurt done to me is so great I can’t deal with it. And we can’t, Marlowe added, except with the grace of God. “He doesn’t ask anything of us that he doesn’t give us grace to do,” as she pointed out in the Lord’s prayer, “Lord forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors.”
Marlowe said, “There is a price to pay, that I’m sure we have all experienced in our lives. The one who forgives is the one who pays, that seems kind of backwards, doesn’t it?” she said. “You give up all claim to self or reputation, putting it all in the hands of Christ, but the rewards are always greater. It doesn’t matter whether the person who wronged us asks for forgiveness; it doesn’t matter whether he ever admits his wrong. There is no justification for holding things in our hearts which will come between us and God,” Marlowe said.
She shared some of her own experiences with forgiveness and how she was finally able to “forgive and let go,” and put everything in the hands of God. “The first thing is forgiveness,” she said. “The Lord tells us to forgive and then he gives us the power to do that.” Then, she said, “The second thing — if we don’t forgive, we take on the sin of the one we are holding things against — it becomes ours,” she said. “And thirdly, if we hold on to it, God can’t do anything about it, because we have got it in our grasp. In order for God to take care of the person that did the hurt, we have to turn loose of it and let God handle it and for us it has to be forgiveness. That’s all he asks us to do to forgive, but God will take care of the rest of it. He can’t take care of it if we’re holding on to it so tightly that He can’t even get his hands on it.”
Marlowe said, “It’s dangerous for a person to say, ‘I forgive,’ and let his mind continue to dwell on the offense until it consumes and destroys him. You have no control over another’s thoughts or actions, but you can choose as to how you will react to adversity. Pet the hurt, it will grow — forgive and it will vanish, leaving the forgiver stronger spiritually. It’s a struggle, but God gives the victory. We cannot accomplish forgiveness within ourselves,” she continued.
In conclusion, Marlowe told the story of how one of President Abraham Lincoln’s associates scolded him rather severely for being soft on his enemies. “Why do you insist on trying to make friends of them?” he chided. “You should be trying to destroy them.”
To which Lincoln replied gently, “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make them my friends?”
In speaking of those who were his enemies during the Civil War, Lincoln is reported to have said, “Insane as it may seem, I hold malice toward none of them. I have neither the time nor the energy in this life to hold that kind of resentment.”
Juanita Poteet won the door prize, courtesy of Steve Robinson of Cleveland Plywood. Others present included club recorder Shawn Markie, Martha Ledford, Joe Ben Chase, Alexander Delk, Wade Carmen, Calvin Davis, Lilian Cunningham, Peggy Meyer and Kent Gunderson.
The next meeting will be held at Golden Corral Restaurant in Cleveland at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 25.
For more information on the United Club, contact: Bostic at 479-9207; Lupo at 478-5766; or Shaun Markie at 476-5426.