It seems that a 90-year-old Texas man decided to prove the old adage that it's never too late to say one is sorry. He did so by mailing a handwritten note of apology along with a $50 bill to the Midvale, Utah public works department.
Identifying himself only as a "sorrowful citizen," he confessed to having stolen a stop sign several decades before; and now enclosed the cash to pay for it.
"I am enclosing $50 to pay for this stop sign I stole when I was a thoughtless teenager," the man wrote. "Stupid might be a better word for it. All of these things have made me sorrow over the few things I did when I was young."
It seems that the elderly man, from somewhere in North Houston, has been "trying to do restitution" for all the many mistakes he has made over the years. His next sentence is revealing. "I wish to be forgiven by the Lord, so I am sorry and truly repentant." It was signed “Anonymous”.
City officials admit that they were somewhat taken back by the letter. They also noted that they wished they could thank the man in person, but could not as the letter did not include a name or return address.
Robert Hale, the Mayor of Midvale, estimates the crime took place approximately 75 years ago. “He paid more than $50 in the 75 years he’s been carrying that burden on his shoulder,” the mayor said. He then added that, while he doesn't know the man's name, he still hopes the 90-year-old knows he's forgiven and can now live peacefully.
“He’s cleared it up a far as we’re concerned," Mayor Hale said. He added that the city plans to use the man's donation to replace another stop sign in the city. "We can scratch out that line on the account receivable now."
I find this a powerful story for several reasons. The mayor is right in his assessment of the guilt this man has surely born all these years. The poor, unidentified man did wrong, and then suffered under a guilty conscience until he could simply stand it no more; whereupon, he finally took steps to repent and make amends.
And the best part of the story is that he has now found the forgiveness he both so long desired and so long needed, along with the peace that comes with a clean conscience.
Herein resides the relevance of this little story for each of us. You see, this man’s story is my story. And it is also your story. Indeed, it is everyone’s story. For it reminds us that we have all done wrong. We have all violated some law of conscience. We have all violated the moral law of God. And we have all had to live with the terrible consequences as a result!
But the best part of the story is that we can all still turn to God and confess our wrongdoing. When we do, we soon discover that God, the ultimate authority against whom we have all sinned, is both gracious and merciful! As such, He freely offers forgiveness to all who turn to Him in repentance and seek reconciliation through His Son Jesus Christ.
Once we do, we discover what the Bible affirms (in the First New Testament Letter of John, chapter 1, verse 9): “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
And that is precisely why the story of Jesus Christ is called the “Gospel”. For “Gospel” simply means “Good News”. What greater news can we receive than this? To be forgiven by God for our past transgressions and to live hereafter in perfect peace!
STORY SOURCE: https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-man-sends-utah-city-50-apology-note-75-years-after-crime-i-was-a-stupid-teen. Published June 22, 2018.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: https://biblehub.com/1_john/1-9.htm.