Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out. (Acts 3:19 NRSV)

I remember reading a story that took place during the Civil War just 11 days before Christmas. Peace and good will were far from the thoughts of 200,000 Union and Confederate soldiers facing each other across the broad, blood-spattered arena of Fredericksburg, Virginia. The past few days had been gruesome with more than 12,000 soldiers killed. Nineteen-year-old Sergeant Richard Kirkland had seen enough. Kirkland went to see Confederate General Joseph Kershaw. "General," he said, "I can't stand this!" He startled his commanding officer. "All night and all day I hear those poor Federal people calling for water," he said, "and I can't stand it any longer. I ask permission to go and give them water."

Kershaw shook his head sympathetically. "Sergeant," he replied, "you'd get a bullet through your head the moment you stepped over the stone wall onto the plain." "Yes, sir," answered Kirkland, "I know that, but if you let me, I'm willing to try it." The General responded, "The sentiment which prompts you is so noble that I will not refuse your request. God protect you. You may go."

Quickly the South Carolinian hurdled the wall and immediately exposed himself to the fire of every Yankee sharpshooter in that sector. Kirkland walked calmly toward the Union lines until he reached the nearest wounded soldier. Kneeling, he took off his canteen and gently lifted the enemy soldier's head to give him a long, deep drink of refreshing cold water. Then he placed a knapsack under the head of his enemy and moved on to the next. Racing against the lengthening shadows of a short, somber December afternoon, he returned again and again to the lines where comrades handed him full canteens. "Troops on both sides who had watched this unselfish act paid young Kirkland the supreme tribute--not a standing ovation, but respectful awed silence."

To repent means to change our attitudes toward other people from one of suspicion or hatred to one of love.


Dear God, please forgive me, as I totally turn my life toward you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

Help Promote Devotions.Net | Help Feed The Hungry

| Home | Bible | Devotions | Humor | Visitors |