Sometimes the LORD gives me a doozy of a name for an article, and today is one of them. When I woke up this morning I asked the LORD what I would be writing about, and He told me, “My friend the oyster”. Say WHAT? I don’t know any oysters. But here we go…..

So I thought, ok, what is special about an oyster? Well, they take something that is irritating them, and make it into a thing of great beauty. There surely MUST be a lesson in that. Is there ever a time that anything irritates you? Yes? Then I’m on the right track, apparently. More often than not, it isn’t a “thing” that irritates us, but another person, by something they say or do. Unlike the oyster, when we get something that gets under our skin, it doesn’t turn into anything beautiful, but rather, it festers into something ugly. And the longer it festers, the uglier and more painful it gets. Now the oyster turns offenses into a pearl of great price. But people turn offenses into BIGGER offenses.

Think back about the last time someone or something offended you; did you think it could be made into something beautiful? Well, it can be. It’s amazing how God created the oyster as an example for us to teach us how to turn irritating things and hurts into a thing of beauty. Day by day, whatever got into the oyster to cause irritation in the first place is coated by a smooth and beautiful coating to lessen the irritation. You’d think the oyster could just eject the offending thing, but for one reason or another, it doesn’t get to do that. It must live with it day by day, just as WE must live with the things that irritate us day by day. We would love to eject that irritant, but the devil just keeps bringing it to our remembrance.

Now, we’re not oysters, so we cannot beautify and overcoat the offense, but it remains and festers day by day, increasing in intensity, and the devil makes sure we can’t ignore and forget it. And whenever we think about that offense, or the person who caused it, we go through all the pain again, over and over.

When the disciples of Jesus asked Him to teach them to prayer, He gave us the “Lord’s Prayer”, which goes like this in Matthew 6:9-15:
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
And then the Lord Jesus added this:
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

That’s a pretty scary statement there. Think about it; we can ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, and still be lost if we don’t forgive those who sin against us. How is that? Well, go back and look at verse 15 again. Plain as day, it says if we do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will our heavenly Father forgive OUR trespasses. In plain English, that means if our sins are not forgiven, we are lost, period. I don’t care how many days a week you go to church, or how much you give to the church, if your sins are not forgiven, you are not saved.

Through the example of my friend the oyster, the LORD shows us how to turn offenses into a thing of great beauty. By forgiving the offense and the offender, you are coating the irritation with another coat of God’s grace each day, removing it’s ability to hurt and irritate you. And, as in the oyster, the irritant doesn’t go away, but rather, it gets smoothed and coated with mother of pearl, which transforms it into an object of great beauty, a treasure that you get to behold.

You may at first reject the idea of forgiveness, but let me tell you the benefits. You may think, “I demand justice, I’m not letting them off the hook, they HURT me! ” But let me remind you, it isn’t THEM staying awake at night tormented by the hurt, it’s YOU! When you forgive them, it’s YOU that is getting off the hook. God will deal with them in His own way. So by forgiving them, you will get to share your life with a pearl of great price, a treasure of great beauty that was created by applying grace to the thing that irritated you. So THAT is why the oyster is my friend after all.