I grew up in a church that always had an altar call at the end of every worship service.
Three times per week, anyone who felt called by God was given an opportunity to walk to the front of the church and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Technically, once you made your public profession of faith and were baptized, your sins were washed away. You were forgiven. However, some people took this opportunity to re-dedicate themselves to Christ.
I always remember that we had one sweet lady who semi-regularly re-dedicated her life. With great emotion and display she would come before the church to profess her repentance and undying love for Jesus.
This sweet soul re-affirmed her faith so often that it became a running joke if this Sunday was going to be another opportunity for her to come forward.
I think we were wrong. It was no joke.
At our core, we know we are sinners and need God’s grace. Some people feel this more fully than others. But many believe if you have repented and accepted Jesus into your life…a regular public display of remorse is not required by God. He knows we are sin-filled. He knows we love Him. But, He knows our weaknesses and He forgives us regardless.
I miss those days of altar calls. I miss people acknowledging publicly that they have not lived a more Christ-centered life. I also know that every Sunday I would feel the urge to come forward but would stay seated for fear of being ridiculed.
I’m glad Mrs. Ledbetter showed me what it is like to want forgiveness even if she didn’t have to ask so often. Her acts of contrition were an outward and visible reminder to those of us who were too proud to admit the same.
Can I get a witness?