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Friday, March 6, 2020

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Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130:1-8
Matthew 5:20-26

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turn out right in the end

"If the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, ...can he do this and still live? None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die." —Ezekiel 18:24

The years 2002 and 2018 were notable for the uncovering of sexual abuse scandals involving certain Roman Catholic priests. Upon hearing the breaking stories, most people reacted like God did in the above passage. Any good deeds done by these priests were forgotten. They were generally condemned by the public because they had turned from virtue to commit evil.

Most people who have experienced their spouse leaving them for another person would have a similar reaction. Most good memories of the marriage would be forgotten because the departing spouse turned from faithfulness to break the covenant.

If we humans can react like this to the bad endings of others, then we can't accuse God of being unfair when he uses a similar standard to judge us (Ez 18:25). God holds us, His children, to the highest standards of holiness and faithfulness (Mt 5:20). Yet God pours out unending supplies of grace so that we can repent and not only meet His standards, but flourish and grow in holiness (Eph 1:3).

If you are falling short of God's standards, turn back to Him (Is 45:22). "Delay not your conversion to the Lord, put it not off from day to day" (Sir 5:8). "When you have sinned, show repentance. Delay not to forsake sins, neglect it not till you are in distress" (Sir 18:20-21). "Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2) Turn and return to the Lord.

Prayer:  Father, I throw myself on Your mercy. Cleanse me of sin.

Promise:  "With the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption." —Ps 130:7

Praise:  Once a drug dealer, Big Jim repented and converted to the Lord. He now mentors youth.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 8, 2019

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