My friend, may I ask you a question? We can all agree that running away seldom solves anything, whether we are little kids or grown adults. When it comes to running away from our sins, however, we seem less reluctant to stand and fight. Why does it seem the easy way when it solves nothing at all?
Life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I'm Mark Brunner.
Running away; like most kids I tried it once. I can still remember that summer day when as a boy of 9 or so, feeling oppressed and misunderstood by both Mom and Dad and angry at my brother for blaming me for what I didn't do, packed a peanut butter sandwich and my prized baseball card collection in a shoebox, tucked it under my arm and left home, walking away into Farmer Geeson's pasture with the very real intent of "making them regret that they yelled at me." I really didn't know where I was going as I entered that grove of trees at the far end of the pasture. So, I climbed a tree, tied my belt around the trunk, and decided to sleep there for the night. It wasn't long however, peanut butter sandwich gone and shoebox growing limp as it soaked up a small boy's perspiration on a hot summer afternoon, that I decided I'd punished them enough and it was time to go home. Besides, it was nearly dinnertime and the prospect of missing my Mom's cooking in favor of a hard perch in an old Box Elder tree somehow, suddenly became a lot less attractive.
Running away seldom solves anything. When it comes to running away from our sins, it solves nothing at all.
Here's a story: Two brothers were convicted of stealing sheep in the old days in England. In accordance with the brutal punishment of those times, they were branded in the forehead with the letters "ST"–"Sheep Thief." One brother, unable to bear the stigma, fled to a foreign country where he tried to hide himself. He wandered and at last died full of bitterness and was buried in a forgotten grave. The other brother repented of his misdeed and did not try to run away from home. He said, "I can't get away from the fact that I once stole sheep, but I will remain here until I win back the respect of my neighbors and my own self-respect. The years passed, and he gradually established a reputation for respectability and integrity, honesty and worth. At last a stranger in town saw an old man hobbling along with the letters "ST" branded on his forehead and asked a local resident what they signified. After thinking for a while, the villager said, "It all happened a long time ago, and I have forgotten the particulars. But I think the letters are an abbreviation for Saint." (Dale Galusha)
The wonderful grace of God in the penitent, believing heart can transform character and turn the scars of sin into a badge of honor and beauty. Running away from sin is as foolish as trying to sit on the limb of an old Box Elder tree with sup- per cooking just a few dozen yards away. God gives us the power to overcome sin through His Holy Spirit. The stigma, the consequences of sin, can never be removed. But, when we rely on the power of God to change our sinful lives, the consequences can be a blessing; kind of like eating my Mom's cooking all the while knowing that bad stuff just happens.
We pray. Heavenly Father, we cry out for freedom today—freedom in our ongoing struggles with shame, both the shame we feel and the shame we give. Though our guilt has been completely taken care of by your work on the cross, Jesus, we still feel varying degrees of shame, and we act out in a variety of destructive ways. Forgive us when, out of fear, anger and pride, we shame others, especially those closest to us. Indeed, we need the freedom you alone can provide, Jesus. Bring the grace and truth of the gospel to bear in profoundly healing and liberating ways. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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<firstname.lastname@example.org> From Beech Springs, God bless you for Jesus sake.