Tag Archives: slavery

It’s Not Too Late, You Know

Story of the Day for Friday February 17, 2012

It’s Not Too Late, You Know

                                  For I am the least of the apostles and am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. . . and his grace to me was not in vain – I worked harder than all of them. . . 

                                                               1 Corinthians 15:9-10

How do you handle regret?  Many are haunted by ugly sins from their past, and their guilt clings to them like a bad smell.  Others choose to punish themselves by drowning their regret with booze or engaging in other self-destructive behavior.   And then their response to their regret only fills them with more regret.

Regret can cripple you.  But if you will let God bring his grace into your life, your past failures can become the platform for a reinvigorated life.

 

In 1821, a brilliant lawyer defended a Maryland slaveholder.  One of the owner’s slaves, Charity Butler, escaped to freedom.  But the slave owner’s attorney, Thaddeus Stevens, convinced the court to have her returned to bondage.

Afterward, Stevens was disgusted with himself.  He could have wallowed in regret, but instead, chose a better way.  He became transformed into a passionate defender of slaves.

Thaddeus Stevens authored the 14th amendment to the Constitution, which granted all citizens (meaning former slaves) equal protection under the law.  He also fathered the 15th amendment, which gave freed slaves the right to vote.   Even many northern abolitionists still segregated blacks – banning them from public schools, colleges, libraries, theaters, and restaurants.  Stevens addressed black friends as equals, and brought them into social occasions as equals.

Although Stevens died in 1868, it wasn’t until 2002 that archeologists discovered that his house in Lancaster, Pennsylvania housed secret hiding places for fugitive slaves.

Thaddeus Stevens, the man who once condemned a runaway slave to a life of misery, used his past mistake to transform his future.  He used his shameful act as a springboard to a courageous life given to defending those he once suppressed.

Once, a fanatical Jew zealously worked to imprison and murder followers of Jesus of Nazareth.  How would you expect the Lord to handle such a violent persecutor of his people?  Easy – he made him a leader of the very people he once oppressed.  Paul could openly discuss his past, but he did not drown in regret.  He was inundated by the cleansing grace of Jesus.   Now, he could passionately work for the growth of the church he once tried to destroy.

 

It’s not too late, you know.

                                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

No Excuses

Story of the Day for Wednesday February 15, 2012

No Excuses

                     Moses said to the Lord, “Look, the Israelites will not listen to me. Why would Pharaoh listen, since I speak with a stammering tongue?” 

                                                                   Exodus 6:12

While the people of Israel moaned under the crushing weight of slavery in Egypt, God sent Moses on a mission. He was to tell the people a word from God: “I am the Lord and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”

Moses told his fellow Israelites the good news. Yet, instead of exuberant shouts of joy, the Israelites ignored him. They were far too discouraged to believe in good news.

 

Great. You say exactly what the Lord wants, and no one listens. The next time, the Lord wants Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. This time Moses is ready . . . with excuses. “Tried it already.” “Didn’t work.” And, just for good measure, Moses adds, “I’m a lousy public speaker.”

 

We can’t brag up Moses too much, (because he’s not walking away as the winner of this argument), but these are really good excuses. And, Moses was absolutely right. He did go to Pharaoh, and Pharaoh scoffed at him – just as Moses said he would.

 

Excuses are wonderful things because they absolve us from responsibility.  They defend us against embarrassment and failure.

But, in the process we become “victimized” by life. Listen to these actual insurance claims and see if you notice a pattern:

  • “A pedestrian hit me and went under my car.”

  • “. . . as I reached an intersection, a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision.”

  • “As I approached the intersection, a stop sign suddenly appeared. . . “

  • “The telephone pole was approaching fast. I attempted to swerve out of its path when it struck my front end.”

Did you notice it? When those filing insurance claims try to avoid responsibility, their  passivity becomes comical. They are poor, passive victims living in a hostile world where stop signs and telephone poles dart in front of their cars and attack them.

 

Moses had good excuses for not becoming God’s messenger. But God told Moses to speak; he didn’t tell him to make Pharaoh respond. That’s God’s department.

Moses did end up doing what God said (with Aaron’s help), and, in the end, everything turned out all right.

Do you have excuses for not doing what the Lord wants you to do? I hope they’re good ones (and don’t forget that “I already tried it; doesn’t work” is a solid performer). But, at the end of the day, are we trying to persuade God, or just ourselves?

God’s ways often don’t make sense – to us anyway. But once we know His will, it’s always best to trust him. No excuses.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)