Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

There’s an old story: two friends were walking through a desert. At one point on the journey, they had an argument. One of them slapped the other in the face.

The one who received the slap was hurt, but without saying a word, wrote in the sand: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.”

They continued walking until they found an oasis. They were overjoyed as they jumped into the pool of refreshing, cool water. But the one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started to drown. His friend saved his life.

After recovering from the near-drowning, the one who was saved wrote on a stone: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.”

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand. Now you write on stone. Why?”

The friend replied: “When you hurt me, I wrote it in sand, where winds of forgiveness would erase it away. When you saved my life, I engraved it on stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

This story gives us a great model to include God’s gift of forgiveness into our daily living. The sad truth is this: we often tend to do the opposite. We carve hurts and pains in stone. We hold grudges. We return again and again to the hurts.

It takes real wisdom, and a strong Christian heart, to even WANT to carve the hurts and pains in sand. It takes real faith to embrace the winds of forgiveness. It takes commitment and connection to God’s grace to let these winds flow through our lives.

An age-old song reminds us: “count your blessings.” Based on this story, we might translate that: “carve your blessings in stone.” It’s so much better for us to daily remember our blessings.

Remember this: our greatest blessing is Jesus, Lord and Savior! Carve THAT in stone! Carve all your blessings with it. Even when pains and hurts get carved in stone (sometimes it can’t be helped), our faith in Jesus will be the strongest carving on our souls. Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection has made it true!