November 16 Devotion

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  • November 16 Devotion

    A Clean Start

    Luke 19:8

    His first name was “Sergeant,” his nickname was “Sarge.” He was one of many who have been rescued by the most unlikely of institutions: the United States Army.

    It came about this way: Sarge was a ghetto loser from Detroit, a dropout from the streets. He was convicted of some drug-related crime, and the judge made him an offer: sign up in the Army for six years, or do three in prison. Sarge picked the Army. For about four of those years, including two tours in Vietnam, his main thoughts were on drugs, women and having a good time. On his second tour in Vietnam, the sight of the carnage and the experience of losing several good friends made him reflect on life and death. He decided to change his life.

    He walked into the company commander’s office and announced his intention to change, ending with “how can I get promoted?” The CO took him at his word and laid out for him the things that he would have to do to be eligible for promotion. Sarge buckled down and soon found himself with more rank, more money in his pocket and more responsibility (which, by the way, included me.)

    We don’t often think of the US Army as a source of forgiveness. It isn’t; but it is the home of the “second chance” for a lot of men. It isn’t quite forgiveness, but it is a clean new start. We see that in Zaccheus’ conduct here. Zack was a tax collector; hated by every devout Jew. Notice how eagerly he accepts the clean start; his offer to repay exceeds the Old Testament Law; the other half of his wealth would be a rather large sum.

    There is a question of integrity in this for us. We preach and teach forgiveness. We even say that we know that God will not forgive us if we don’t forgive others. Have we, however, excluded those we forgive from the second chance? We’re perfectly willing to forgive them—but will we give them a chance to start over with us, or are they going to be labeled for life?

    Forgiveness doesn’t imply that we think someone is righteous, rather that we think they have sinned against us. But just as that is so, our acceptance of forgiveness—from Christ—is an acknowledgment of our sin. He doesn’t “forgive and fry”; he gives us another chance. What a marvelous example before us; forgiveness in action! Zaccheus acted; Christ gave him a new life.

    Lord, it is so difficult for us to sort out the sins of others. Teach us to forgive and leave the sorting to you.



    bringin' em back ~ to the Dodge Mahal !!....

    Where old Magnums can find a home.. :angel:




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