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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"A Wrong Christmas Spirit"

December 19, 2011

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While He (Jesus) was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus said to him, "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Luke 22:47-48

Insult to injury.

That expression accurately describes the events which took place this year at Southington, Connecticut. It appears that Ruth Wagner went to a Christmas craft fair, so she could celebrate the season. Sadly, she was not planning to pay for any of the items she liked.

Wagner gave herself, as they used to say, a "five-fingered discount." That is, she started to steal things. That's the insult to the Savior and to the sellers at the craft fair.

When a vendor saw and confronted Wagner about her stealing, she made a bee-line for the exit. The vendor yelled out, "Someone stop that woman!" and one quick-thinking lady blocked Wagner's path. Now this is where the injury part of the story comes in. Not wishing to be captured red-handed, Wagner grabbed a seashell Christmas ornament and stabbed the lady in the arm.

The injured lady was taken to the hospital, and Wagner was eventually taken to the police station. There she was charged with: first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, sixth-degree larceny and a second-degree breach of the peace.

Wagner's bail was set at $100,000.

Insult to injury.

When I read Wagner's story, I immediately thought of Judas, who also was guilty of adding insult to injury. It was an injurious thing for the renegade disciple to betray Jesus. After all, he had been directly under the Savior's influence for three years. But to betray his Redeemer with a kiss ... that was an insult to which even the long-suffering Savior reacted.

Insult to injury.

Yes, when I read Wagner's story, I thought of Judas, and then I thought of myself. I cannot begin to calculate how many times I have sinned and to that first transgression added another sin, and another, and another -- in an attempt to justify myself.

Quite likely you've done the same.

If so, we need a Savior -- a Savior who has shown He can love us past our insults and in spite of the injuries we do. In a second, Jesus would have forgiven Judas ... and Ruth ... and Ken ... and you. To make forgiveness a reality is why God's Son was born; it is why He lived, suffered, died and rose. And it is why we prepare for His birthday remembrance with a repentant heart.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, forgive my insults and injuries. Grant me the Holy Spirit, so I might be changed and become the proper witness You deserve. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries

Today's Bible Readings: Ezra 5-7    Revelation 11

Change Their World. Change Yours. This changes everything.

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