Someone emailed me this story long ago and I came across it again today -- it has a wonderful message about the blessing of change.

"Long ago in a far away land lived two young men. The two brothers were likable but undisciplined with a wild streak in them. Their mischievous behavior turned serious when they began stealing sheep from the local farmers, a major crime in a pastoral place. In time, they were caught and the local farmers decided their fate. They would be branded on the forehead with the letters ST for 'sheep thief'. They would carry this sign with them forever.

One brother was so humiliated by the branding that he ran away and was never heard from again. The other brother, filled with remorse, decided to stay and try to make amends to the villagers he had wronged. At first they were skeptical and would have nothing to do with him. But this brother was determined to make reparation for his offenses.

Whenever someone was sick, the sheep thief came with soup and a soft touch. Whenever work needed to be done, the sheep thief pitched in. It made no difference who the person was, the sheep thief was there to help. Never accepting pay for his good deeds, he lived his life for others.

Many years later a traveller came through the village. Sitting at a sidewalk cafe eating lunch, he saw an old man with a strange scar on his forehead seated nearby. He noticed that all the villagers who passed the old man stopped to share a kind word, to pay their respects; children stopped their play to give and receive a warm hug.

Curious, the stranger asked the cafe owner, "What does that strange brand on the old man's head stand for?"

"I don't know. It happened so long ago," the cafe owner replied. Then, pausing briefly for a moment of reflection, he continued, "but I think it stands for 'saint'." (Willanne Ackerman)

What a great lesson in humility, in repentance, in forgiveness and in the possibility of change.


Chris * Natalie * Maya * Mason said...

wow, that is a great story. i love it, thanks.

The Duenas Fam said...

that is such a neat story! people can change and we need to be forgiving of others as the Lord is with us. that story is the perfect example of that.

Jori said...

I am saving that! just awesome!

Kristi said...

That's awesome. I love this story.

Darleen said...

Great, touching story. It's good to know that people can change and forgive. Good story to hold on to.