1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
"I dare you!"
Have you ever had a person dare you to do something? If so, do you remember the levels and intensities of the dares?
First, a person was dared to do something. If the dare wasn't accepted, next came the "double dare." To decline to act on a double dare was a rare thing, something you might not see for years at a time. After the double dare there was the "triple dare." The triple dare was something you simply couldn't ignore. You had to respond or run the risk of forever being branded a coward, an individual without pride, purpose, or principles.
If I remember correctly, the last dare which could be used was the "triple-dog dare."
Personally, I have never seen a triple-dog dare, but in 1990 that was the potency of the challenge put before Ian Manuel. He had no choice but to respond and prove himself. This is how the 13-year-old Manuel found himself confronting the 28-year-old mother, Debbie Baigrie.
The robbery didn't go well. Manuel shot Baigrie in the mouth. The shot didn't kill the Tampa, Florida, mother, but it came close. She lived, but the next years were spent undergoing dozens of dental procedures trying to restore her mouth and face.
He was captured, tried, and sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of a parole.
The two might have lived out their entire lives that way, but they didn't. Manuel thought about what he had done. Guilt moved him to repentance and contrition. And so that's how, immediately before Christmas in 1991, he tried to make a collect phone call to Baigrie. Out of curiosity she accepted the charges. She listened as he offered his heartfelt apology.
Baigrie forgave Manuel. More than that, the two started writing and she encouraged him to get his high-school diploma equivalency and improve himself. Baigrie even began a crusade to have Manuel released. It was a dream which became a reality last November. When Manuel, now 40 years old, walked out of prison, Baigrie was there to greet him. Since then he has become like a son to her and she has become a substitute for his deceased mother.
It is a wonderful story -- a story which those who have been rescued and redeemed by the Savior understand. We understand because Manuel's story is much like ours -- except ours is worse.
Not once, but multiple times we sinned against the Lord in our thoughts, words, and actions.
For our misdeeds the Law condemned us to spend eternity in hell. Nobody could have said the verdict was unfair. It wasn't unfair. On the contrary, it was just. But then, without any logical reason the gracious Lord reached out to us. He sent His Holy Spirit to us.
God's Spirit brought us to faith, brought us to the Redeemer. In Jesus, we were given a spirit of repentance and blessed with forgiveness, a reunion, and our adoption into the family of faith. God's action is one of grace that changes everything, including our eternity.
And that, my friends, is something I triple-dog dare you to forget.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I confess my many misdeeds and transgressions. Allow me to express my gratitude for the forgiveness I have been given through the work of my crucified-and-ever-living Savior. In His Name I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Jenn Gidman for Newser on April 21, 2017 . Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written, by clicking here.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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