Sunday, May 17, 2015

Only You Know And I Know

How many stories have we been subjected to recently about celebrities who do whatever they feel like....until they are caught. I'm glad so many of them break down and confess their guilt- that's scriptural- but I like it even more when someone confesses without getting caught. This is such a story, one I use each year in class, and it's from Memorial Day, 2007.

I counted pennies in my classroom this afternoon. It's Memorial Day so no one but me was in the school building- I'm still catching up on odds and ends. As I drove today, sports talk radio was fixated on the issue of steroids and baseball. The same names as always popped up; Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro. The history of baseball revolves around statistics. The radio conversation also centered on stats, particularly in light of wide-spread suspicion of the use of performance enhancing chemicals. There is testing but not for everything that has come out of the pharmaceutical chemistry set. Who did and who didn't? The odds of knowing accurately are probably nil. It would require an outbreak of honesty, an epidemic not running rampant in our society today.

There is hope. Several months ago, a young man lingered after all his classmates had exited when the bell rang. He had a confession to make. In preparing for our daily Bible quiz, he had read the wrong assignment and when we graded the papers, he panicked and changed some answers. Even in the few minutes that had elapsed, he could not live with what he had done. He simply was ashamed of himself. We talked and I told him that I was proud of him. I took no further action; none was needed. Without his coming clean, I would not have known. His punishment was knowing I knew, even if no one else was the wiser. The time came when he asked me to write a letter of recommendation for him, which I did gladly. In fact, the recommendation probably was better than if the incident with the quiz had never happened. I found out more about him in his misstep than I did in the other one hundred seventy days of Bible class. I don't know if those allegations of steroids are true- the denials have been loud and as persistent as the accusations and the whispers. The norm in our culture is to deny everything for as long as possible and then make excuses when the truth is revealed. My student made no attempt at that kind of charade. The term conscience-stricken is used only twice in the Scriptures, both in application to David. The ruler who made the leap from the pasture to the palace messed up often but he was always contrite....and God always forgave him. Most would not consider cheating on a twelve question quiz a big deal but it is to me. Thank God it was to that young man as well.

Applicable quote of the day:
"The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul."
John Calvin

God bless,
Luke 18:1

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