[This story] comes from Africa and was told by Festo Kivengere (former Anglican Archbishop of Kigezi, Uganda, and leader of the African Enterprise evangelistic team) in Decision magazine. He says, “My uncle, the chief, was sitting in court one day with his courtiers around him when a man came and bowed in the African way. He was rich in cattle and was well known as a man who sought God through the spirits of dead relatives. He had come with eight cows which he left some twenty yards away.
‘I have come for a purpose, sir,’ the man said.
‘What are those cows for?’ asked the chief.
‘Sir, they are yours.’
‘What do you mean they are mine?’
‘They are yours. When I was looking after your cattle, I stole four and now they are eight, and I am bringing them.’
‘Who arrested you?’
‘Jesus arrested me, sir, and here are your cows.’
There was no laughter, only a shocked silence. My uncle could see this man was at peace with himself and rejoicing.
‘You can put me in prison or beat me up,’ the man said, ‘but I am liberated. Jesus came my way and I am a free human being.’
‘Well, if God has done that for you, who am I to put you in prison? You go home.’
A few days later, having heard the news, I went to see my uncle. I said to him, ‘Uncle, I hear you got eight free cows!’
‘Yes, it’s true,’ he said.
‘You must be happy.’
‘Forget it! Since that man came, I can’t sleep. If I want the peace he has, I would have to return a hundred cows!'”
Kivengere says that later this chief did come to Jesus Christ!
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to him,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable.
“What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them
would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and
go after the lost oned until he finds it?
And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy
and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors
and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’
I tell you, in just the same way
there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”
There is still
time for endurance,
time for patience,
time for healing,
time for change.
Have you slipped? Rise up.
Have you sinned? Cease.
Do not stand among sinners,
but leap aside.
For when you turn away and weep,
then you will be saved.
— St. Basil the Great
True repentance is to cease from sin.
— St. Ambrose of Milan
Before God can deliver us from ourselves, we must undeceive ourselves.
— Saint Augustine of Hippo
Of all acts is not, for a man, repentance the most divine?
The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.
— Thomas Carlyle
When a child can be brought to tears,
and not from fear of punishment,
but from repentance he needs no chastisement.
When the tears begin to flow
from the grief of their conduct
you can be sure there is an angel nestling in their heart.
— Horace Mann
[Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.]
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