Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. 2 Timothy 4:11-13 (NIV).
“Emanuel” is a new movie that focuses on forgiveness. It’s a contemporary docu-drama about how the members of a Bible study group at Emanuel Baptist Church forgave the man who tried to murder them. Powerful stuff about a powerful action.
When considering forgiveness, consider Mark. Mark is Mark the Evangelist: the author of the Gospel of Mark (probably the earliest of the four Gospel accounts), also known as John Mark. Paul had known Mark (who, as a young man, had known Jesus) for many years. Earlier in Paul’s ministry, when it was Paul who was new to following Jesus, Paul and Mark had disagreed. Prior to this, in Pamphylia, Mark had ‘abandoned’ Paul, leaving Paul for reasons we don’t know. The reason could have been serious or it could have been a slight; we simply don’t know.
All we know is that, in Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas (who had been ministering together) sharply argued and then split up over John Mark. Paul and Silas went one way, and Barnabas and Mark went another. Barnabas and Mark went to Cyprus, and Paul and Silas continued on through Syria. Where God would have done great things through the four of these men together He did greater things by splitting them up, allowing the Gospel to be shared with more people than if the group had stayed together.
Some time later, Mark and Paul reconciled. They shared mutual forgiveness for the previous incident. They reconciled to the point that, for the rest of human history, Paul’s words about Mark being helpful in ministry were recorded to encourage us to forgive. We are to do it because it’s what Jesus did – and does. We are to do it because it’s healing, because it is cleansing; because it’s helpful to others and to us.
Letting go of animosities and burdens and wrongs done to us frees us to better focus on the wonderful things God is doing every day. We get to choose to let optimism or pessimism rule our outlook. We get to look for good things instead of navel-gazing on the problems that follow us. Those problems may still follow us, but we can keep them in perspective and use the empowering freedom of knowing we’re forgive (and can forgive others) to live lives that help, that help others, that help others know Jesus and His Good News.
ANYTHING is forgiveable. See “Emanuel” now. See it to see how even the worst things done by terrible people can be forgiven.
For further reading: Acts 15:37-40, Acts 16:8, Acts 20:4, 2 Timothy 4:14
Lord Jesus, thank You for forgiveness. For forgiving us when we’ve wronged You. Inspire us to forgive others as You do.