You remember Peter came to Christ once and asked how often we were to forgive people. Peter thought seven times was enough. But Christ said, “No, you must forgive until seventy times seven.” That would be four hundred and ninety times. Christ did not mean exactly that many times. But He meant more times than you can think. That is, if you are a follower of Christ you are to forgive a person as often as he is sorry for having done you a wrong, and comes to you and asks your forgiveness.
When we speak of a person as being generous we usually think of someone who gives his money, or whatever belongs to him, freely to others. But did you ever think that people can be generous with their thoughts, too?
Let me show you what I mean by that. There were once two boys who went to visit at a farm where they kept Shetland ponies, and of course both boys wanted to ride them. So one day they persuaded the man in charge of the ponies to put the saddle on a handsome black one and lead him out into the yard for them to mount. But when it came to actually getting on the pony’s back, the younger boy was afraid. Although the older boy urged him, he would not take a ride. Finally the other boy mounted and rode gaily off, and came back beaming with delight. But instead of being proud, and thinking the other boy cowardly, he went over to the younger lad and said: “Now you get on. I know you can ride him.” And when at last the other did ride off, the older boy’s eyes danced with delight, and he clapped his hands to encourage the younger boy. That is one of the best forms of generosity.
Another illustration of it is when you are on a baseball or football team, or in a contest of any sort, to be able to say when you are honestly beaten that you were beaten by a better team. When you can say that, it takes half the sting out of defeat and makes those who win admire you more than ever.
Don’t be stingy with your thoughts about people. Always think the best about others, and believe the best, and you will grow to be open-hearted, friendly, lovable and big.
Once upon a time, according to an old fable, the sun and the northwind had a contest to see which could take a man’s coat off the more quickly.
The northwind tried first. It gathered together all its forces in its own corner of the earth, and then rushed forth upon this man who was walking along a country-road. The wind blew and blew, and it seemed as if the traveller’s coat would be blown from his back or torn to tatters. But the harder the northwind blew the tighter the man drew his coat about him, and the wind could not get it off his back. After it had spent all its force it gave up in despair.