One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Goodness

Today is our regularly scheduled One Word at a Time Blog Carnival. Today’s topic is the fruit of the Spirit: Goodness. If you have written something on your own blog that you would like to enter in the carnival or if you would like to read the other entries, you can do that by visiting my friend, Bridget Chumbley’s website.

I never panicked about writing a post about Goodness. I mean, it’s not a taboo subject like some of the ones I write about. But while I wasn’t worried about it, it wasn’t until Sunday that I knew what I was supposed to write.

Sunday morning’s service was a really good one. From the minute I choked up during the Apostles’ Creed, I knew that it wasn’t just going to be “church as usual”—even in the sedate, non-Charismatic church where I was visiting. Although there was no dancing or clapping or whistles or fanfare, I could tell that the Holy Spirit was there and that He was up to something. I tearily whispered my way through the Creed, had to clear my throat a little during the Doxology, and the sermon—though not a shouting, stomping, hell-fire-and-brimstone type—was very inspiring.

And then, the preacher seemed to slide off his topic.

It happens to the best of us. I didn’t think much of it as I heard him say that Jesus had asked God to forgive His abusers and so we must also forgive our abusers. He went on to say that the Bible says that if you won’t forgive, you won’t be forgiven. I nodded. I know the truth of all of that (though I occasionally struggle with it). And before I could even wonder why the preacher had gone off topic, he jumped back on topic and finished his message.

We stood to sing the final hymn and I noticed that two older couples went down to the altar for prayer. We sang through the hymn once and the folks were still praying at the altar, so the pianist started back at the beginning of the hymn for us to sing through it again. About two-thirds of the way through, the two couples stood and made their way back to their seats. The pastor said a benediction and the bells chimed the end of the service.

As I turned to retrieve my crumpled bulletin from my seat, I felt a hand on my back. I looked up to find one of the men who had been at the altar. His eyes were moist, but peaceful. I reached up to hug him, but he didn’t immediately let go. His voice rumbled in my ear, “Twenty-seven years ago, my nineteen-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver. Today, I forgave him. I forgave the man that killed my son.”

That is the goodness of God. He gives the ability to forgive and to start again, no matter our age and no matter what we have done. His goodness is in the second chance. His goodness is in the power to be forgiven… And to forgive.

About Sarah Salter


  1. That packs a powerful point. Good story, Sarah.

  2. God is good! Wow, Sarah… that was an amazing story and I’m sure that being a part of that service on Sunday was a blessing! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This story certainly puts the trivial into perspective for me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am visiting via Shark Bait. You are very talented indeed. Your “Naked” entry really touched my heart and encouraged me. Thank you!

  5. Wow. Tremendous post, “John Boy.” Really. I felt you hugging that man. Awesome.

  6. Wow. What a powerful story.

  7. Whew! You took my breath away! I absolutely did not see that coming. *tears*

  8. God’s goodness knows no bounds …

  9. I am glad he was gifted with the ability to forgive.

  10. Great post, Sarah! And so many of us struggle to forgive wounds that are so much less significant.

  11. The preacher didn’t slide off topic. He was pulled. Wow!

  12. Papa Bear (the Preacher) says:

    Every Sunday I pray for God to take over the service so that what people are hearing is not my thoughts, but the Heart of God. I know that just as Jesus forgave Peter for denying him three time; he forgave all the disciples for abandoning him in his darkest hour; he forgave Pilate of sending him to the Cross and he forgave the crowd for demanding he be crucified; so I also know that God wants us to forgive those who have falsely accused us or some other thing that has hurt us. The man who came to the altar has beening carrying that guilt for the man who killed his only son, 19 at the time of his death. He has grieved over the loss of his son everyday, never being able to let it go because he could not forgive the man driving drunk who tool his sons life. Sunday was the break through and Jesus was there to let him know that just as he forgave that drunk driver, who now is also dead, God has forgiven him for holding that unforgiveness for these 27 years. Praise God from whom all blessing flow. Sarah, thank you for sharing that story, and telling others of the “goodness” of God.

  13. Powerful how God works.

  14. Amazing. And he felt so freed by that forgiveness that he wanted to share that with you. Even more amazing, isn’t it?

  15. “That is the goodness of God. He gives the ability to forgive and to start again, no matter our age and no matter what we have done. His goodness is in the second chance. His goodness is in the power to be forgiven… And to forgive.”

    WOW! Very powerful words!

  16. Thanks for showing me where goodness can be in forgiveness. Great message Sarah!

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