I’ve come a long way since 1966. Back then, I was elected Kentucky-Tennessee governor of Circle K International. The following year, I was voted the organization’s international trustee. Boy, did I think I was something special. My father might have been a Methodist preacher, but as far as I was concerned, politics was the way to go. I hated church; I hated the Bible; and I hated Christians. I didn’t keep my dislike for the things of God a secret, either. When we met at the international Circle K convention in Chicago, Illinois, I found out one of the men there went to the famous Moody Church. I remember leading the other guys in ridicule against him because he was a Christian. (This was before I became a Christian.)

Now that I am a Christian and pastoring my own church, I have been on the receiving end of plenty of ridicule and slander. Looking back on those days at Circle K, I am so ashamed at what I did to this poor, Christian man. I praise God He didn’t give up on me then. He saved me and has brought me a long way.

Do you remember what you were before you became a Christian? Do you remember what you were as a young Christian? It’s only by the grace of God any of us have made it this far. God’s grace saw diamonds in the gutter, cleaned and polished them, chipped away at their imperfections, and made them sparkle. Grace is amazing. The wonderful thing about it is when our lives shine, they make God look good.

We’ve all come a long way — and we all have a long way to go. Thankfully, God gives us grace. That ought to make us gracious people. Instead of retaliating or carrying a grudge when others mistreat us, we should show love and forgiveness. It means we should try to understand people instead of jumping to conclusions. It means we should never forget what God did to bring us where we are. Last of all, it means we should be humble.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder