Standing on The Corner

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

(God said) “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18b

Oklahoma City’s eight-year-old Malachi Peterson is in trouble for many different reasons. 

*He is in trouble with his school principal because he picked a fight at school.

*He is in trouble with the girls because the fight he picked was about who got to get the girl.

*He is in trouble with his mother because she thinks he is becoming a bully.

That’s an awful lot of trouble for a young man. Thankfully, Peterson is not the subject of this devotion. No, Peterson is off the hook. Instead, we are talking about Peterson’s mom. Wishing to nip her son’s bullying in the bud, Janie Peterson made her son stand out on a street corner holding a sign which said, “I PICKED A FIGHT BECAUSE I’M A BULLY.”

I couldn’t help but start hearing that old tune in my head, the words of which go like this: “Standing on the corner watching all the girls go by….” That isn’t particularly sinful, even though I guess it could come mighty close. But imagine standing there with that bill board listing all your sins. I would want to hide my face and not let anyone know that I was the one who committed these sins against God and other people. Would it work for you? You can make your own assessment.

According to Janie Peterson, public reaction to the punishment she gave her boy has been very positive. 

At any rate, the story of Malachi Peterson got me to thinking. I’m pretty sure none of us would like that street corner. No, we wouldn’t like it a bit. I know nobody would like it because all of us go to great lengths to hide our sins. Robbers wear masks, thieves work under cover of darkness, and white collar criminals hide their misdeeds in a set of doctored books. Most of us just do our best to keep those sins locked away where nobody else can see them.

Like Adam and Eve, we do our best to hide our transgressions from everybody. Of course, we can’t hide those wrongdoings from the Lord. His all-knowingness sees our sin and His justice condemns that sin. Even if we manage to hide our sins from everybody else in the universe, God knows our long list of transgressions.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that, along with seeing and hating our transgression, God continues to love us. So that we helpless souls might be forgiven, redeemed and restored. Jesus’s love erased our cards and made them clean.

Every Sunday, we confess our sins and we all respond: “In the name of Jesus, we are forgiven.” Thank God for that!

Dear Lord, thank you for taking that long, long slate of sins I have committed over the years and wiping it clean. I could not do this on my own or under my own power – only by your grace can I find your forgiveness, redemption, and restoration. Amen.

Grace and Peace


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