Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
"Not Quite What We Deserved"
Jun. 11, 2018
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
~ 1 John 2:1-2 (ESV)
In 2009 on August 13, four men stormed into Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame restaurant supply company in Harlem. When a pistol-wielding robber knocked one of his employees unconscious, 72-year-old Charles Augusto grabbed his hidden shotgun.
Mr. Augusto may be old, but he's accurate, deadly accurate. The three blasts Mr. Augusto squeezed off from his shotgun hit all four of the robbers. Two were killed; the other two were wounded.
Back then, there were all kinds of reactions to that story.
One person said, "Stories like this warm the cockles of my heart."
Another said, "Justice at its best!"
Still another reacted: "Nothing better than instant karma. I wish the best for Gus. As far as the unwelcomed guests (are concerned), good riddance. (May they) rest in pieces."
One person, speaking for many said, "They got what was coming to them."
Now, I don't know if you totally agree with that last comment, the one about getting what was coming to them. Maybe you think Gus' reaction was overkill. No matter how you feel about this particular incident, most of us feel pretty good when we think justice has been done.
1. Think about it. How do you feel when some confessed wrongdoer has his case thrown out of court because of some minor, insignificant legal technicality?
2. How do you feel when that perpetrator ends up on the streets, free to repeat his crime?
3. How do you feel when, again and again, the court lets a drunk driver go unpunished? What is your reaction when that drunk driver gets behind the wheel and takes the lives of a family of five?
4. How do you feel when you get passed over for a promotion and the fellow who hasn't done a decent day's work since he was hired, keeps moving up the corporate ladder?
Now we may be glad when a wrongdoer gets what's coming to him, but how do we feel when that wrongdoer happens to be us?
As Christians we recognize that each day we regularly break the Lord's Commandments. Yes, we repent of our sins, but then, like Paul, we end up doing the bad stuff all over again. Amazingly, the Lord never gives us what we've got coming. If He did, Jesus never would have been born in Bethlehem. Capernaum and Golgotha would long since have been forgotten.
Thankfully, God gives us -- not what we've got coming -- instead, He gives us the forgiveness and salvation Jesus has earned.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we give thanks You are a just God, but we are most indebted to You for Your grace which, because of Jesus, gives us life eternal. In Jesus' Name, I give thanks. Amen.
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Mr. Augusto may be old, but he's accurate, deadly accurate.