Norman Vincent Peale tells the story of one Christmas when he was 15 and his father, a physician turned minister, received a call from a brothel in the red light district. The madam had a girl who was dying and was calling for a minister. Quietly, his father explained to his mother where he was going and called Norman to get his coat. His mother protested that he was too young to go to a place like that. "There's a lot of sin, sadness and despair in life and Norman can't be shielded from it forever."
Norman and his father walked through the snowy streets and came to the house where they were led upstairs to a young frail woman barely older than Norman. As his father sat on the edge of the bed, the girl whispered that she had come from a good Christian home and was sorry for the things she had done and the life she had led. "I've been so bad, so bad,"
His father put his hands around the small hand of this girl and said, "There are no bad girls or boys, just ones who sometimes act badly. They are no bad girls or boys because God made you and God makes all things good. Do you believe in Jesus?" The girl nodded and then Norman's father led her to ask God for forgiveness.
Then he said, "God loves you, his child who has strayed, and has forgiven you and no matter when the time comes, he will take you to your heavenly home."
And Norman Vincent Peale writes, "If I live to be 100, I will never forget the feeling of power and glory that came into that room as my father prayed. There were tears streaming down the faces of the women gathered there, and mine too, because every sordid thing, everything corrupt was simply swept away. There was beauty in the place of evil. The love born in Bethlehem was revealing itself again on a dark, dismal street in Cincinnati and nothing could withstand it. Nothing. So that was the gift I received that Christmas...the knowledge that there is good in all people, even the sad and forlorn, and no one can be lost because of past mistakes."
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