When George Washington took command of the army during the Revolutionary War, one of the first things he did was to expel Captain John Callender for cowardice during the Battle of Bunker Hill. Callender quietly reenlisted as a private. He went on to fight with such heroism in the Battle of Long Island, that Washington restored him to his former rank. St. Paul testifies in many places in his letters, that God treated him in a similar way. He forgave his persecution of the church and bestowed on him the role of Apostle where Paul proved himself faithful to the point of martyrdom. The point should be clear to us. In God’s eyes we are always able to be forgiven. We are always given another chance. No one mistake, no matter how grave, determines everything else. The future is always open to new possibilities. It is sad how so often in society and our relationships with one another, this is not true. One crime, one betrayal, one lapse of judgment, one grave error, and the rest of someone’s life is destroyed forever, even if that person takes responsibility for what they’ve done and is truly repentant. There is often no forgiveness, no starting over for such a person. We as disciples of the Lord should never treat someone in that fashion. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father not only forgives his son but restores him to his former place in the family. It is as if he had never been away. A new beginning. We should rejoice in the fact that God treats each one of us in this way and, with his grace, strive to treat each other similarly.
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