Do you want a happy life?

Justin Kollmeyer's picture

This is one of my favorite little stories. It’s well worth telling again.

Two friends were walking through the desert. During some point in the journey they had an argument and one friend slapped the other one in the face. The one who got slapped was hurt, much more in his heart than on the skin of his face, but without saying anything he wrote in the sand, “Today my friend slapped me in the face.”

They kept walking until they found an oasis where they decided to take a swim. The one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started drowning, but his friend rushed to his aid and saved him. Afterward the saved friend carved into a stone, “Today my friend saved my life.”

The friend who had slapped and saved his friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote it in the sand, but now that I saved you, you carve it into a stone. Why?”

He replied, “When someone hurts us we should write it down in sand where the winds and waves of forgiveness and time can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us and blesses us with kindness and peace, we must engrave it in stone where no wind and no wave can ever erase it.”

The point is clear. Do you want a happy life? Sure you do. Do you want to know the secret of finding joy in living? Of course. Do you want a peace in this world that has perhaps eluded you to this point? Without a doubt. Here’s the key. Simply learn to write your hurts in the sand and to carve your blessings in stone.

The truth revealed in this little story holds more blessings than we can imagine. Who among us doesn’t spoil day after day of precious life by mixing these two, by doing just the opposite? Who among us isn’t right now carrying a chunk of granite around in our heart carved with the hurts and harms that someone has done against us? It burdens and destroys us. Who among us hasn’t written the good of someone only in sand where we soon have forgotten how sweet and good it was? But, oh, how wrong that is. How opposite of what gives life and joy.

“But how can we write our hurts in sand?” you may ask. The answer lies in the word “forgiveness.” And we must remember where forgiveness starts. It starts with God. It comes first of all to us from God in Jesus. That’s what “The Jesus Story” is all about. God could write our sins, failures, faults, and shortcomings in granite, and hold them against us for eternity. But Jesus died so that the strikes against us might be washed away as easily as writings in the sand where the waves pour over and quickly erase. Acknowledging God’s forgiveness of us is the only answer to being able to forgive others. And that’s the Gospel Truth.

Do these words come to mind? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” That’s one of the main requests we make almost daily of our Father in Heaven. This is exactly what that means.

I love this little story about sand or stone. I am glad and blessed to be reminded about this great truth as it applies to my life. I pray you’ll be glad and blessed as it applies to your life, too.

Kollmeyer is Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church on Hwy. 314 in Fayetteville, between Lowe’s and The Pavilion. He invites anyone without a church right now, or anyone “seeking to improve and protect your family” to come to Sunday worship at 9:30 (Contemporary), or 11:00 (Pipe Organ). For more information log on at or call 770-461-3403.

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