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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"Is Your Conscience At Peace?"

January 22, 2007

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Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51: 10


The Associated Press recently carried the story of a German shoplifter who had come clean after 37 years and the nameless individual finally “fessed” up. He admitted to having taken about $15.00 worth of goods when he, his brother, and his wife were touring Lom, Norway. After all the years, he no longer could remember the name of the shop; nor could he recall the shop’s owner. This theft was the only thing his conscience had not allowed the years to erase. German wrote to Simon Bjorgen, Lom’s mayor, and the letter said, "For many years, my conscience has bothered me. I hope to free myself from that with the enclosed check and also ask forgiveness for the wrong I’ve done." The check was made out for $375.00.

For those of you who are never content until you get the entire story … the mayor found the 78-year-old shopkeeper and give him the check. The shopkeeper requested the mayor to tell the German “all was forgiven”, and the money was given to the residents at the local retirement home.

The story ends with a happy German, mayor of Lom, shopkeeper, and the folks at the nursing home. Everyone lives happily ever after. Maybe. I’m not sure if the German asked the Lord for forgiveness. “After all,” he may have thought, “To the best of my knowledge, God doesn’t own a tourist shop in Lom, Norway. If I didn’t steal from God, why should I go to Him for pardon?”

There is an answer to the question. Everything that repels against the will of God: either heard in our language, seen with our eyes, locked in our deepest thoughts, or witnessed in our deeds is a sin against God. The German’s theft was committed against an earthly shopkeeper, a sin against the Lord. After all, He is the Lord who has created order, governments, relationships, and consciences and all the stuff that sits on the shelf in a Lom, Norway tourist shop. Peace for our troubled consciences comes from the Lord. Because of His Son’s sacrifice, death, and resurrection, the Father forgives sins from anyone who, with faith asks, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner.”

The psalmist said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will return to You” (Psalm 51:10-13).

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I pray the man in our devotion may find peace. I rejoice because Jesus forgives and a clean heart belongs to me. May I live this day and every day in such a way that others may see “with You there is forgiveness.” In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Today's Bible Readings: Job 34-35    Matthew 14:22-36

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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