Friday, July 26, 2013

Sinner And Saint

I’m a sucker for the guy who’s down and out, but climbs back and makes it.  The underdog.  Seemingly beaten at every turn.  Knocked down.  Even kicked while he’s down.  But somehow manages to get back up on his two feet and keeps walking.

Been there.  A whole lot of times, but then again, I think I have a lot of company.

I’ve always been intrigued by some of the characters in the Bible.  Perhaps it’s my growing up in a very traditional, Catholic home and educated through elementary in a Catholic school that I’ve always been intrigued by Sinners And Saints.

I have several favorites.

Peter jumps to mind.  He just seems like a good guy to me.  Good heart.  I picture him gregarious.  Full of fun.  Full of laughter.  Impulsive.  Remember the story when he’s out fishing in the boat with the rest of the Followers, the Apostles, and he recognizes a familiar voice from the shore telling them to throw the net over the other side of the boat.  I mean they’ve been fishing long hours and caught nothing.  Here’s this guy from the shore telling these experienced ‘professional fishermen’ what to do and how to do it.  But, they throw the nets over the other side of the boat and what happens?  The nets almost break because of the number of fish they caught.

But Peter is impulsive.  He recognizes the voice as His Friend walks on the water to meet them.  Peter jumps overboard and decides to walk on the water too.  Doesn’t work so well for him.  Probably not for us either.

Peter also denied His Friend when His Friend was being tried by a kangaroo court on trumped up charges in the middle of the night.  Peter ignores Him.  Peter decides “he doesn’t know Him.”  Harsh thing to do for a friend, don’t you think? 

But . . .

Somehow, Peter overcame all the impulsiveness.  Peter overcame the betrayal of His Friend and was given charge over the Followers, the Church.

Hmmm . . .

Then there’s Paul.  Before he was Paul, he was Saul.  In today’s vernacular, Saul was a ‘hit man’, an enforcer.  He had people killed.  Thrown in prison.  

But . . .

On a trip to go round up or kill some more Followers (probably), the story goes that he had a vision, heard a voice.  He was blinded (like he wasn’t blinded all that time before???) and he changed course.  Took a new direction.  In so doing, he changed his life.  Saul, now Paul, became one of those he persecuted.

Lots of other stories.  I’m sure you have some of your own.

As a teacher and counselor, it gave me no greater pleasure than to see a kid ‘turn it around’.  Somehow, someway, change from bad to good.  Perhaps the kid was always good, but we, nor he/she, didn’t recognize it for all the bad we did see.  But he/she changed.  Turned it around.

Lots of kids.  Lots of stories.

It makes me realize that there is a very thin line between a Sinner And Saint.

In some ways, a Sinner And Saint are the sides of a coin, separated by a very thin edge.  One side Sinner.  Other side Saint.  All it takes is to flip the coin over and you have one or the other.

A change in thought.  A change in action.  A change in a life.

It can happen.  It does happen.  To you.  To me.  To those who drive us crazy.  To those who in one moment we can’t stand, but in the next, we sit back and think, ‘. . . not so bad after all’.  Happens all the time.  He/She turns it around.  Changes.  Decides on a different course.  A different life.

Sinner And Saint.  Different sides of the same coin.  But the same coin.  Just flip it over.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe