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Samuel Colgate, the founder of the Colgate business empire, was a devout Christian, and he told of an incident that took place in the church he attended. During an evangelistic service, an invitation was given at the close of the sermon for all those who wished to turn their lives over to Christ and be forgiven. One of the first persons to walk down the aisle and kneel at the altar was a well-known prostitute. She knelt in very real repentance, she wept, she asked God to forgive her, and meanwhile the rest of the congregation looked on approvingly at what she was doing. Then she stood and testified that she believed God had forgiven her for her past life, and she now wanted to become a member of the church. For a few moments, the silence was deafening.


Finally, Samuel Colgate arose and said, "I guess we blundered when we prayed that the Lord would save sinners. We forgot to specify what kind of sinners. We’d better ask him to forgive us for this oversight. The Holy Spirit has touched this woman and made her truly repentant, but the Lord apparently doesn’t understand that she’s not the type we want him to rescue. We’d better spell it out for him just which sinners we had in mind." Immediately, a motion was made and unanimously approved that the woman be accepted into membership in the congregation.


God accepts us as we are. There’s not a sin too black, not a deed too awful, not a thought too horrible for him to forgive.


Larry R. Kalajainen, Extraordinary Faith For Ordinary Time, CSS Publishing Company, Inc, 1994.

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