There was a lone sheriff in a town in the “Wild West”. One day a man came into town and raped a woman and killed her. The sheriff caught the man and put him into his town jail and promised the community that this man would pay for this. He would see to it that he was punished for his wrongs. No, he wouldn’t kill the man; he would make him suffer the rest of his life being locked up.
It wasn’t long before the sheriff started noticing that a lot of his time and effort was spent in feeding this criminal. Not only that, he had to tend to the cell and every need of this criminal. If he had an event going on he would leave for a short time, but after a while hurry back to make sure that the criminal had not broken out. If he had to go very far away he would handcuff that criminal and take him with him.
He started to realize that there was a high price to pay in his own life by being personally responsible in holding this man captive. His own freedom was being compromised. He was faced with a decision, should he continue seeing personally that this man paid for his criminal act or should he turn the man over to the state penitentiary and trust the man’s justice and payment for his crime to the hands of another.
So often in our lives we are hurt, wronged and we feel the need to personally see to it that someone pays for the hurt that they have caused. Usually our efforts are inadequate to justly pay back anyone anyway. But we swear to see justice only to find that in the process we have hindered our own freedom and enjoyment of life by holding onto unforgiveness. Often the other person is not even aware of your feelings and attitude and you are the only one hurting. Will you consider turning over these criminals to the one who says he can give the appropriate reward for good and evil? Will you allow the chains that hold you to the criminal to be taken off and trust Jesus to take your prisoner into his prison of justice and see to the outcome?
Author unknown. If anyone has a proprietary interest in this story please authenticate and I will be happy to credit, or remove, as the circumstances dictate.
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