July 15, 2015
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Civil War General George Meade never found out that Lincoln blamed him for letting the Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee escape after Gettysburg. Meade never found out because he never read Lincoln's letter. He never read Lincoln's letter because Lincoln never sent that letter.
You see, whenever Abraham Lincoln had to vent at someone's foolishness or wrongness, he put all of his feelings into a hot letter. That's what he called it: a "hot letter." Then he would take that letter and put it aside. Later, after he calmed down, Lincoln evaluated whether the letter should be signed and sent. Most of those letters never received signature or stamp.
Lincoln's caution in sending angry letters has become almost extinct in this age of instant e-mails.
Ours is an age of THINK IT, TYPE IT, SEND IT.
Unfortunately, many of the letters that are written in anger or in some other heightened emotional state ought never go out of our "Draft" mailboxes. Too many things are simply too hurtful, too inaccurate, too strong. Of course, you probably know that, don't you? Almost all of us have hit the "Send" button and immediately regretted our actions. Almost all of us wish we could take back that e-mail and stop it from reaching its intended recipient.
Well, if you are a Gmail user, I've got good news. Gmail now has an "Undo Send" feature. That's right, if you go to settings, you will be able to click on a little button, which gives you up to 30 seconds to recall a sent e-mail.
It's a button which, when selected, gives you a do-over opportunity.
Sadly, there are no such do-over buttons when it comes to our sins. Once a misdeed is done and a transgression has been committed, that's it. It doesn't make any difference how much you regret what you've done; that single, condemning sin has blackened your soul and severed your relationship with the Creator.
On our own there was simply nothing we could do to change things.
But thankfully we are not on our own. The Triune God, seeing our helplessness, had mercy upon us and sent His Son into this world to fix things. Jesus' perfect life, devoid of any transgression or slip into temptation, was lived so we might be freed from the Law's condemnation. Jesus' death was suffered so all who believe on Him would never have to face eternal damnation. The Savior's amazing third-day resurrection from the dead says Jesus' work has been done well and completely. Because of Him we are forgiven and saved.
And that, my friends, is a Good News message, which is truly worth sending.
THE PRAYER: Lord, I give thanks that Jesus has carried and taken away my sin. May I do all I can to share this saving message with those who still are under the condemnation of unforgiven sin. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries