July 24, 2014
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
The anonymous lady, by her own admission, had two strikes against her.
First, she had been a lousy bartender when she worked on weekends for Pam and Gibb Hedges at their bar in Beatrice, Nebraska.
Second, during the two months she was employed at the sports bar, she had stolen from the Hedges, about $200 by her recollection. Now remember, the time we are talking about was 15 years ago. Two-hundred dollars back then was a bit more than it is today.
Well, my friends, time has passed and things have changed. The Hedges no longer own that sports bar, and the bad bartender lady no longer resides in Beatrice. Yes, almost everything has changed, except for the lady's guilty conscience.
With her life back on track and her values put back in place, that lady regrets a great many things about the way she lived years ago. Some of those things, like getting paid good money for being a bad bartender, were things she can't do anything about. Other things, like that $200, well, that was something else again.
But what should she do?
A decade and a half had come and gone since the thefts had occurred. The Hedges probably wouldn't remember her. (They didn't.) And since she had never been caught, what good would it do to bring embarrassment to herself and cause the former bar owners to distrust the people with whom they had worked for so many years.
What to do? The answer was simple. The lady wrote out a letter of apology to the Hedges and, at the same time, she thanked them for the job they had given her. She shared how her life had been redirected and, to show the sincerity of that redirection, she paid back the $200 she had stolen.
Scripture says, the Lord's people should confess their sins. When they do, they can be sure the Lord, who has already forgiven their transgressions, appreciates the fact that His people have the right attitude of gratitude toward the Savior. As John wrote, we can be sure the Lord forgives us of all our unrighteousness.
But how about people? Will they forgive us?
Christian people should. When the Hedges received that letter, they not only forgave their ex-employee, they also noted what a courageous thing she had done. You see the bar owners had known all along that a number of people had stolen from them, but this was the first time someone had made amends.
Now, I can't tell you that everyone will receive a confession as rightly as did Pam and Gibb. No, I don't know what people will do, but I know the Lord is glad when the Holy Spirit moves people to put their faith into action and, confessing their sins, show their gratitude for the salvation Jesus has won for them.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may my faith reflect itself in words and works. May my life be a living song of praise to the Savior who gave His life to win my forgiveness and salvation. In Jesus' Name I pray it. Amen.
All too often the job of reaching others is left to others. That can be unfortunate. After all, there are times when YOU may be the best person to reach someone who is lost or wandering. If you have always wanted to know how to do such a sharing of the Savior, you may want to attend Lutheran Hour Ministries' SENT Outreach Conference, which is July 24-27 in Detroit. For more information, visit www.lhm.org/conference.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries