Thought for the week 06/06/22
‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” Acts 2:38
Does your house have a name?
The top 3 house names in the UK are:
2. Rose Cottage
3. The Bungalow.
What do you think of this name for a house – ‘Spite House’?
In 1882 a New York businessman, Joseph Richardson, tried to sell a narrow strip of land on Lexington Avenue. It was 5 feet wide and 104 feet long. Another businessman, Hyman Sarner, owned a normal sized plot on which he wanted to build apartments. Sarner offered to buy the skinny plot from Richardson for $1,000. Instead, Richardson demanded $5,000 for his skinny plot. It was too much for a tiny plot of land. Sarner refused to pay and built his apartments assuming the skinny plot would remain empty. As Sarner saw the new apartments he realised they overlooked his skinny plot of land. A furious Sarner decided to build his own apartment on the land to block the view.
Richardson built his house. It was 5 feet wide and 104 feet long and 4 stories high. It was a super small apartment. Only one person at a time could go up or down the stairs. So small were the rooms that the dining table could only be 18 inches wide. The building was dubbed the ‘Spite House.’ Richardson lived in ‘Spite House’ for 14 years. It was torn down in 1914.
Who would choose to live in a narrow house only built to spite your neighbour?
It seems a ridiculous thing to build and try to live in. It sounds a horrible place to live.
Yet many of us choose each day to live in our own ‘Spite Houses.’ Narrow, constrained places built on unforgiveness and a desire for revenge.
We see it played out in the world news. We see it played out between warring factions and neighbours. We see it played out in our own lives too.
Jesus offers us an alternative. Jesus offers us a home in a place called ‘Father’s Mansion.’
Jesus wants us to live in a spacious mansion that has many rooms (John 14:2)
The route out of ‘Spite House’ to ‘Father’s Mansion’ is both simple and incredibly difficult.
To move from ‘Spite House’ to ‘Father’s Mansion’ all we must do is forgive.
To give something, we must first receive.
Jesus taught us to pray:
“And forgive us our debts
As we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
To receive forgiveness, we need to accept that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins. We then need to repent or change our way of living.
Or sins can feel like heavy debts. Debts that we cannot possibly pay off. Yet Jesus offers us forgiveness – he has paid our price.
The removal of a heavy unpayable debt is freeing It releases us and creates a cause for joy.
Are there sins or debts we need to ask Jesus to take away from us today?
And, having received that forgiveness, is there anyone we need to forgive?