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Some years ago, two teenagers with a long history of crime and misbehavior robbed a YMCA on the lowest East Side of New York City. On the way out they saw a young man at the telephone switchboard. They were frightened and assumed that the man must be calling the police. They held and beat him violently with brass knuckles and a black jack. They thought he was dead; they hid him behind the swimming pool and escaped.

Later that evening, a woman who came to swim was walking by the pool. She slipped in the man’s blood, screamed, and then found Donald Tippet’s body. He lived, but one eye was so badly damaged that it could not be saved.

Meanwhile, the two teenagers were seized and brought to trial. Their past records assured that both would get long sentences. Donald Tippet did an amazing thing when he called for that the judge allows the two young men to be paroled to his charge. He wanted to give them another chance. He believed they could change. One of the boys committed another crime, was caught, and sent to jail. The other boy was receptive to Tippet’s kindness. He went to college and then to medical school. He became one of our nation’s leading eye surgeons. A reporter, writing about Donald Tippet’s amazing story of forgiveness, said of the surgeon’s deeds: "I wonder if he ever performs one of those delicate eye operations without thinking of that night in the YMCA and the young man whose forgiveness changed his life!"

(From a sermon by Dennis Selfridge, The Effects of Sin that Causes Conviction and Gives Forgiveness, 8/3/2010)

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