Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing testimonies and devotions from some of our band members.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Lawrie Hope. Lawrie is a member of our euphonium/baritone section and is a retired Salvation Army officer.
Here’s Lawrie’s thought for us today.
Romans chapter 12.
This chapter is usually remembered for the first two verses: ‘I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice.’ But then he goes on to explain what a holy sacrifice is. It is in our nature as humans, if some one does something against us, to want to ‘pay them back’. But Jesus said ‘love your enemies’. Sometimes this can be extremely difficult, particularly if they attack your personality. Doing good to them instead of evil, produces a completely different response.
Part of our service was at House o’ the Trees, a Probation Hostel, where we received lads direct from court to give them a chance to change their lives. Marjorie put this principal into operation with one of the lads.
Peter was a bad lad! Our bungalow was behind the main house, and we walked down the path, round the house to the front door. One morning Marjorie turned the corner of the house and found Peter up on the windowsill of the office trying to break in. She reported him to the officer-in-charge and, of course, he got into trouble. From that moment on, every foul name he could think of, he called Marjorie.
One day, he came to me with a jumper of absolute top quality, very expensive, which his family had bought him. He asked me if I would give it a hot wash to shrink it. I refused (for obvious reasons). But he kept coming back to me trying to persuade me to do that for him. Eventually I told him that I would give it a warm wash and see what happens, but emphasised that if anything happened to the jumper, then I accepted no responsibility. Fortunately, the jumper did shrink a little but kept its quality, and I thought he would be happy. However, a little later he came back to me with the same request. This time I refused. He took it to one of the staff who, being a guy and knowing no different, washed it in hot water. Of course, it shrank to a coat of chain mail. A very dejected Peter brought it back to me and said, “Cap, look what’s happened.”
I told him I would let Marjorie have a look at it and see what she could do. She tried everything – washed it, stretched it, washed it and pulled it, combed it, brushed it with a poodle brush, everything she could think of, but, of course there was nothing that would help. I gave it back to Peter and explained what Marjorie had done. Peter took the jumper and I thought that would be the end of it.
Some time later, Marjorie was in the kitchen helping out, washing dishes. After a while, she became aware of Peter standing beside her – drying the dishes that she had washed. She couldn’t understand this, and let it go on for a while. He remained there drying the dishes as she washed them. Unable to continue in this strange situation, she turned to him and said, “Peter, after all the horrible things you’ve called me – what are you doing here?” And he simply said, “You took my jumper, didn’t you?”
Obviously that made a big impression on Peter. It’s been about 35 years since then. I have prayed for Peter since then (as I have for other residents of House o’ the Trees). I don’t know what the Lord’s plan is, but I hope that eventually He got through to Peter and Peter surrendered to Him.
Verse 17 (NLT) ‘Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable.’