By Dennis Messimer
The first time I saw her, she was dressed all in black. Her long, straight hair framed a slender, pale face. Her mother had invited us to a discussion with some members of a cult. Eventually the cult members excused themselves, and as they were being escorted out, I was left alone with the girl. Fifteen years of age, with anguish in her eyes, she had remained silent during the discussion. When she broke her silence, her first words were, “God could never forgive me.” I asked her why she believed that, and her reply was, “Because my sins are too great.”
The Holy Spirit Guides
The conversation went like this: “Have you ever murdered anyone.”
“Well, that wouldn’t really matter. God forgives murderers. Are you a drug dealer?”
“Well, that wouldn’t really matter. God forgives drug dealers.” I asked her if she was a paid prostitute, and her response to that and every other question I asked her was no. Each time I replied by saying that God forgives those who commit such sins. Later I found out that if I had asked about incest, adultery, fornication, and many other sins, the answers would have been different, but I believe the Holy Spirit directed my questions.
In Spirit and Truth
That girl’s conversion was not immediate, but God worked in her life; and today, decades later, she is still serving the Lord.
When the temple was dedicated in Old Testament times, hundreds of animals were sacrificed. People went through special cleansing rites, and there was music and celebration. Yet when Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman at a well near Sychar, he said a time would come when we would worship in spirit and truth. The elaborate dedications of the earthly temple pointed to the greatness of the redemptive feat that Christ would accomplish on the cross. And because of that ultimate sacrifice toward the ultimate forgiveness, no sin of a 15-year-old girl—or you or me—can prevent our bodies from being dedicated as temples unto God. We need only accept his cleansing
. . . and then celebrate.
Dennis Messimer is minister to international students with the Christian Campus House in Columbia, Missouri. He and his wife, Linda, served as missionaries for 39 years in Belgium, South Africa, and Mozambique. They have four children and will soon welcome their eighth grandchild into their family. (Dennis was also editor Shawn McMullen’s fifth-grade Sunday school teacher.)