Sherlock, John, and Paul….and life lessons along the way

sherlockI love TV. What can I say? I’m a child of the 80’s when we watched all the greats: Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Cheers, The Wonder Years, and MacGyver. On summer days, I would wake up in time to watch reruns of The Love Boat while eating Captain Crunch. On school nights, my homework was completed in time for Moonlighting with Bruce Willis. Oh, yes. I’m a TV girl.

Still to this day my TV is on most of the time. But network programming is so yesterday for me. Now, Netflix owns me. No commercials. Binge-watching. Thousands of options. I confess I often spend more time surfing those options than I do actually viewing movies, yet My List on Netflix is full.

My latest binge-worthy find? Sherlock. It airs on PBS on Masterpiece Mystery, but seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix, and I’m hooked. Last night, I watched an episode in which two characters were at complete odds. One had betrayed another, and weeks of confrontations and accusations had ensued.

Then, came the moment. John forgave his wife. He said her past was her’s to deal with, but her future was his privilege to embrace. Tears streamed down her face as she accepted his forgiveness. John embraced his wife in comfort even as he confessed that he was still very angry. Nevertheless, he longed to restore the relationship. Score! That was a great scene.

Now, I don’t want to stretch too far, but we could all learn a thing or two from John Watson. Better yet, let’s learn from the Apostle Paul….he probably has more authority since he was a real person and all.

In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul dealt with a church discipline issue. Previously, the church had united in confronting a man over a particular sin. I’m sure it was difficult and painful. What confrontation isn’t? In 2 Corinthians, however, Paul shared profound wisdom. Check it out:

“Now it is time to forgive him and comfort him. Otherwise he may become so discouraged that he won’t be able to recover. Now show him that you still love him.” 2 Cor 2: 7-8 (NLT)

Wow. That is a practical instruction for each of us today! Paul is referring to the church discipline issue, but the instruction resonates with me! There is a time to confront and a time to comfort. In parenting….in marriage….in friendships….in working relationships…..we need to know when to confront and when to offer the comfort of forgiveness.  

Paul said there was a time to confront and there was time to comfort….otherwise the offender might become too discouraged to recover from his mistake. 

The same is true for people in our lives.

  • We cannot hold grudges against our spouses.
  • We cannot deal too harshly with our children.
  • We cannot ostracize other people.

Friends, let’s hold high standards but be full of grace, comfort, and love. Let’s not use discipline or confrontation in an unforgiving way. Remember, the goal of discipline or confrontation is to restore the relationship, not to destroy the person. When people in our lives repent, let’s shelve our anger and graciously forgive. After all, that’s what God does for us every day. 

What does that look like for you today?

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