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)