One Christmas on a road trip with the my wife and kids to my parent’s home I decided to take them on a "scenic loop" through the Mississippi Delta. Its where I was born and raised and my parents still live there. To me, it is the Motherland, God’s country. It is the place where I passed my formative years hunting, fishing, and playing with friends in its field, bayous, ditches, and swamps.
Now, I was having a grand old time as the official tour guide pointing out the various landmarks and places of personal significance. Then I came to a stark realization. I had missed a turn. I was apparently having too grand a time. I knew where it was supposed to be, maybe they moved it?
At first, I reasoned. It had been awhile since I had been through there. Maybe I had not got to it yet? Lets just go to that next stand of trees and see if anything looks familiar. Okay, lets go to that next farm house. This approach, of course, took me even further from the correct road.
Next, I schemed. I thought of the roads ahead and tried to calculate a way to turn around without my family realizing I had turned around? All I needed was two lefts... or two rights... or a right and three lefts. That was fruitless so I tried to remember if there was a road ahead that would take us back to the Highway we should be on without anyone knowing it wasn’t deliberate? No such luck.
Finally, I negotiated. I knew where the road we were on would take us and it would add at least an hour to our trip. Was an extra hour in the car worth not having to admit that I had made a mistake and turning around and covering ground we had already travelled?
Everyone comes to the realization in life, at some point, that they have taken a wrong road. And we all find ourselves wanting to correct our direction without having to admit that we made a mistake. Its just the "scenic route". Life gets very busy and complicated when we try to return to the path we lost without turning around.
I have heard some millenials express the opinion that, since Jesus forgives, they can do anything they want as long as they remember to ask for forgiveness. Yes, Jesus forgives but that forgiveness also hinges on our repentance, to admit that what we did was wrong and we had learned our lesson. We can ask forgiveness over and over but, at some point, we also have to turn around for the Savior to set us on the right path. Asking Him to put us on the right road while also rewarding our stubbornness just isn’t going to happen.
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