Posted by Richard Harris | | Posted On Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Let me place a disclaimer before we get too far into this devotional. I am not a big fan of the tattoo, never have been, never will be. That is my personal preference and I hold nothing against those who do, as long as their not my kids.

Now down to business, the other day I am eating lunch and snooping like I always do. You know how it works when you eat lunch alone; you listen to other people’s conversations and watch those who come in, just to pass the time. While looking around I see a guy with this real mean looking skull of a tattoo on his arm. If you looked at it you would think this was some kind of gang member or just a real tough guy.

Having seen this my curiosity is aroused and I take another look at who he is with expecting to see some other tough guys all coming in for lunch together. Not quite, he has a little boy in tow with him and a wife to boot. He is helping with the little boy and you can tell he really care for him and his wife. Then I look at his shirt and find to my surprise that is a Christian t-shirt telling of the grace of God and Jesus death on the cross for us.

At that moment I had to deal with the contradiction. What was tattooed on his arm did not match his actions or the shirt he wore on his back. In asking myself which one do I believe I immediately voted for the actions over what was grilled into his arm.

Why? It works like this for me; the actions were what was happening now and who knows when that tattoo was put on his arm. Maybe there was a time when he was a mean dude, but it did not appear to be now. Perhaps his past was shady (or maybe he just likes tattoos) but that did not appear to bother the little boy being taken care of by him or the wife with whom he was having sweet conversation with.

Letting our imaginations run wild for a second, maybe there was a day when he carried a gun or belonged to a gang. Maybe there was a day when he used foul language as common as we use if, and, or but. Maybe there was a day when he cared little for God and laughed at people with Christian t-shirts on.

Maybe that was all true or maybe none of it was but the deal is this, I can only make a call as to what that person is like right now. I do not know his past and really if I did what would it change. It is the now that really matters not just for him but for all of us.

Maybe just maybe he wishes he could replace that tattoo of his former life or at least replace it with one of his now life. He knows that can’t be done and so he moves on. Think about it for a moment we are all in some way branded with our past, though it may not be physical, people put a label on us, some rightfully so and it sticks. No matter what we try we can not remove it.

Just some reminders as we think of the thought of being branded. First, be very careful what you do, in this life what you do sticks, people seem to remember especially the negative. Don’t do anything you don’t want to live with the rest of your life.

Secondly, it is a huge waste of time to worry about the past, when there is plenty of today to take care of. What people think of you is their business you can not change it. You can only take care of your life today, keep straining forward.

Lastly, though a tattoo is very difficult to get rid of in this life, God is the great eraser. God is in the business of making new creations when people truly make Him Lord of their lives.

Just a question to walk away with, “If people saw you today what would they see engraved in your life?”

Scripture: Isaiah 49: 15-16, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

Prayer: Dear Lord we are so very thankful that we are ever before you. Help us to live in such a way as to be a transmitter of your love to others. Be with us as we deal with the past, put it behind us and move forward experiencing your love and forgiveness fresh and new each day. We ask these things in Christ name, Amen.

all simple/truths are written by richard harris

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