Two brothers were convicted of stealing sheep in the old days in England. In accordance with the brutal punishment of those times, they were branded in the forehead with the letters ST--Sheep Thief. One brother, unable to bear the stigma, fled to a foreign country where he tried to hide himself. He wandered from land to land and at last died full of bitterness, and was buried in a forgotten grave. The other brother repented of his misdeed and did not try to run away from home. He said, "I can't get away from the fact that I once stole sheep, but I will remain here until I win back the respect of my neighbors and my own self-respect.

The years passed, and he gradually established a reputation for respectability and integrity, honesty and worth. At last a stranger in town saw an old man hobbling along with the letters ST branded on his forehead and asked a native what they signified. After thinking for a while, the villager said, "It all happened a long time ago, and I have forgotten the particulars. But I think the letters are an abbreviation for Saint."

There it is--the wonderful grace of God in the penitent, believing heart can change and transform the character and turn the very scars of sin into a badge of honor and beauty.

By H. M. S. Richards, These Times, April 1969. With permission from Dale Galusha

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