Psalm 32:5 (New International Version)
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Derek, crouching slightly, waited behind the dumpster in the upscale parking lot, calmly looking at the moths circling the buzzing street light above. He was cool and collected, not at all like the first night he had waited here some 4 years ago. As he thrust his hands into his pockets to warm them against the slight chill, he thought about that night. He was nervous and sweated profusely. He could not relax as he waited. Now, it had become old hat. This night, he waited quite patiently.
The older gentleman, dressed in a charcoal gray business suit, rumpled slightly from a day's wearing, felt for his keys as he made his way past the dumpster. It had been a longer than usual day at work and he was relieved to be going home at last. How patient my wife is, he thought. She always understood the long nights his job required. He couldn't wait to get home to the comfort of her kindness, away from the hectic day at the office. As he located his keys, he quickened his pace to the car. The night was chilly, and he hadn't brought his coat.
Derek was ready. He leapt out, but he mistimed the blow he had directed to the base of the man's skull. He hit his shoulder, and the older gentleman turned around in time to see Derek's face. Derek froze for a moment. He had always been able to deliver the blow without the victim seeing him. Now, here stood the intended recipient of the knock out punch, staring at him in amazement, taking in every detail of his face and his clothes.
The old man tried to run, but Derek regained his senses and dragged him down from behind. The following blows were severe and frequent, ending in the man's stillness and Derek's exhaustion. It had been a brutal beating, and Derek assumed the man was dead. He certainly wasn't moving and his face and shirt were covered in blood. Derek rifled through the pockets of the man and disappointingly discovered a small amount of cash. He kicked the old man's body in spite before he ran in fear of detection. A wasted effort, Derek thought as he took off in the direction of home.
Derek was apprehended two blocks from his apartment. The blood on his hands and clothes made his case a sure conviction. This would be the first time he had ever been caught, ever been sentenced. The day of the trial arrived quickly, and Derek grew more and more frightened as the hour approached. His fear was the most intense he had ever experienced. It made him remember the first night of waiting behind the dumpster.
He sat with his head bowed, his hands clenched as the jury entered the room. When the bailiff called "all rise," Derek raised his head slightly and looked in the direction of the door from which the judge entered. For a moment, Derek thought he was in a dream or hallucinating, for he felt he could not be seeing what his eyes told him he saw. There, in the robes of the judge, was the man whom he had viciously assaulted. Still bruised and a little swollen, but unmistakably the face that had turned to see him that night by the dumpster. Derek abandoned all hope.
The judge looked at Derek knowingly, then dispassionately began the proceedings. The evidence was overwhelmingly against Derek, and with each exhibit presented, each question posed, Derek felt freedom slipping away. Justice was about to be served.
As the head juror read the verdict, Derek nearly collapsed under the weight of the pronouncement of guilt. The judge and victim called for order and looked in the direction of the defendant. Solemnly, he pronounced, "I overrule. The defendant is cleared of all charges. You are free to go."
Dear Lord we thank You for sharing your amazing grace and forgiving us from all our sins. In Jesus’ name, Amen.