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Psalm 37:1-9

Exhortation to Patience and Trust

Of David.

1 Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers, 2 for they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good; live in the land and enjoy security. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will make your vindication shine like the light and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.

8 Refrain from anger and forsake wrath. Do not fret—it leads only to evil. 9 For the wicked shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

What does it mean to overcome evil with good? I share with you a story I came across a few years ago.

Story of Buzz - Jesus the Sin Stealer

I want to be as graphic and as plain as I can be about this Jesus is the ultimate sin stealer, and that troubles me.

You can certainly use language that describes this reality in different terms, like "Jesus removes our sins," or "Jesus washed my sins away," but Jesus "rips us off" as far as our corporate and personal sins are concerned. I am a witness to this, because I was reared by a sin stealer my mother.

This sin stealing was shown most clearly on an early spring day long ago, when my mother had made my favorite lunch for school. It was a small container of chocolate milk, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. I went off to Public School 129, but a block and a half away, eager for the morning to pass so I could sink my teeth into one of those delicious cookies, but as I turned to Quincy Street I was face to face with Buzz, the bully of the block.

"Gimmie that lunch, punk!" he said.

"But, Buzz, that's my lunch."

"You better gimmie that lunch!"

"But it's mine. My Mom made it for me, and she made me my favorite--."

Buzz's right uppercut sent me and the lunch to the ground. He picked up the lunch and said, "That's what you get for not listening to me!" and went off to school. I also went off to school with no lunch and lots of anger.

At home that late afternoon I was very silent. Mama, knowing something was up, said, "What happened at school today?"

"I'm gonna kill him!"


"I'm gonna kill him!"

"And who do you plan to kill?"

"Buzz. He beat me up, he stole my lunch, and I'm gonna kill him!"

Mama thought for a while and then said, "Here, have some food. Don't start your homework right away--there is something we need to do together, but you must do it as I say."

The next morning I saw Buzz in front of the school. He pointed to me and said, "Here is that punk who I stole cookies from yesterday!"

I walked up to him, handed him a bag and said, "Buzz, here are some cookies. They're for you. I and my mother made them."

"Whatta you mean, punk?-- Giving me cookies? I can take them from you anytime I want!"

"But we made them for you--take them."

"Are they poison?"

"No, they're okay--take them."

He took the bag from me and handed it to one of his buddies. "Hey, Biff, you try them."

"But they just may be poison," said Biff.

"Try them anyway, already! They just may be good!"

After one bite, and Biff still standing, Buzz passed out the cookies to his buddies, saying, "The punk has brought me, Buzz, some cookies! Isn't that great!"

The next day, I saw Buzz during recess. I walked up to him, gave him a bag and said, "Buzz, here are some more cookies. Take them, they're free."

"Are you messing with me, man? Are you messing with me? These are the ones that are poison! Yesterday was just to set me up!"

"Don't worry, Buzz. They're just fine." He took the bag and backed away from me with a terrified look on his face.

The following day, I saw Buzz in the cafeteria. I said, "Buzz, here are some more cookies. Enjoy them!"

"How can I enjoy cookies if you keep on giving them to me! Now cut it out, man! I didn't even finish yesterday's cookies! No more cookies! (He took the bag anyway.)

On the next day, I saw Buzz at the end of school. I walked up to him and said, "Buzz, here are...." He took one look at that bag of cookies and turned running and screaming all the way down Quincy Street. I haven't even had the notion of taking someone's life ever since. Because Jesus is a sin stealer, My mom stole my intention to sin. (Adapted from a sermon by the Rev. Michael L. Cobbler, "The Trouble With 'Sin Stealers," January 17, 1999)

Dear God, you challenge us to do the hard thing – overcoming evil with good. Strengthen our resolve and may evil be overcome! We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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