Monday, January 15, 2018
Psalms 130:3 – 4 If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore, you are feared.
On New Year’s Day, 1929, Georgia Tech played UCLA in the Rose Bowl. In that game, a young man named Roy Riegels recovered a fumble for UCLA. Picking up the loose ball, he lost his direction and ran sixty-five yards toward the wrong goal line. One of his teammates, Benny Lom, ran him down and tackled him just before he scored for the opposing team. Several plays later, the Bruins had to punt. Georgia Tech blocked the kick and scored a safety, demoralizing the UCLA team.
The strange play came in the first half. At half-time the UCLA players filed off the field and into the dressing room. As others sat down on the benches and the floor, Riegels put a blanket around his shoulders, sat down in a corner, and put his face in his hands.
A football coach usually has a great deal to say to his team during halftime. That day Coach Price was quiet. No doubt he was trying to decide what to do with Riegels.
When the timekeeper came in and announced that there were three minutes before playing time, Coach Price looked at the team and said, “Men, the same team that played the first half will start the second.” The players got up and started out, all but Riegels. He didn’t budge. The coach looked back and called to him. Riegels didn’t move. Coach Price went over to where Riegels sat and said, “Roy, didn’t you hear me? The same team that played the first half will start the second.”
Roy Riegels looked up, his cheeks wet with tears. “Coach,” he said, “I can’t do it. I’ve ruined you. I’ve ruined the university’s reputation. I’ve ruined myself. I can’t face that crowd out there.”
Coach Price reached out, put his hand on Riegels’s shoulder, and said, “Roy, get up and go on back. The game is only half over.” Riegels got up. He went onto the field, and the fans saw him play hard and play well.
All of us have run a long way in the wrong direction. We all tend to grieve over past failures. But the game is not over. God keeps no record of our sins. He does not remember where you have been. He is only focused on where He wants you to go. The forgiveness of God erases the past and empowers the future.
Marjorie Holmes writes in Christianity Today that at a time when she was especially down about her sin she received a letter from a friend who told her how she and her granddaughter had been watching a plane skywrite. The little girl was puzzled when the words began disappearing, but suddenly piped up, “Maybe Jesus has an eraser!”
In her innocent wisdom, she had unlocked a deep spiritual truth – just as skywriting disappears, Jesus will wipe away all things we so bitterly regret. No matter how much we may try in our own strength to compensate for the past, memories of our own failures can rise up and haunt us. But, with God’s forgiveness, they will fade away. Jesus does have an eraser.
Let Him use it on you.