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Monday, March 15, 2021

It Still Works

By David A. Sargent

     Dr. Richard Selzer wrote about a report that he gave after a surgery he performed on a young lady had left a lasting blemish:
     I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish.  A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed.  She will be thus from now on.  The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that.  Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.  Her young husband is in the room.  He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private.  Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily?
     The young woman speaks. "Will my mouth always be like this?" she asks.
     "Yes," I say, "it will. It is because the nerve was cut."
     She nods and is silent.  But the young man smiles.  "I like it," he says, "It is kind of cute."  All at once I know who he is.  I understand and I lower my gaze.  One is not bold in an encounter with greatness.  Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works. *
     Our sins have marred the image of our souls.  We have “missed the mark” in many ways (Romans 3:23) leaving scars that glaringly reveal our mistakes.
     But when Jesus looks at us, His gaze is one of love.  He loves us anyway, scars and all.  He came to us and died on the cross for our sins so that we may be made whole in His sight (1 Peter 2:24).  Despite the mistakes of our past and our future, His grace still works.  He has never stopped loving us, and He never will.
     Accept His offer of love, grace, and life.  Place your faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turn from your sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess His sweet and glorious name (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ and He will cleanse your soul (Acts 2:38; 22:16).  Then continue to follow Him faithfully, and He will continue to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7-9).
     Marred by sin, we come face to face with Jesus.  Though it cost Him His life to pay for our sins, He looks at us with love and mercy, longing for us to accept His offer of salvation and eternal life.
“Bring Christ your broken life, So marred by sin;
He will create anew, Make whole again.
Your empty, wasted years, He will restore,
And your iniquities Remember no more.”
-- T.O. Chisholm
And when we accept His offer, we realize that we have encountered God – a loving, gracious God.
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org
* Richard Selzer, M.D., Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery, 1978, pp. 45-6 as quoted in www.sermonillustrations.com.

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