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When I was younger I worked for a supermarket as a cashier. This was in the days when people still had to sign to pay with their credit cards. One very quiet night I seemed to be the only cashier on tills. A lady came through with a big shop but when I checked the signatures they were quite different. I panicked at first, this had never happened before and there was no one else around to help me. In my confusion I pressed the button that ok’ed the purchase realising my error I picked up the phone and tried to get through to a supervisor. After a solid five minutes on the phone with no reply the lady asked if I was done and walked off with the card and shopping. I knew I should have done more but circumstances conspired against me and I hoped I’d get away with it. Unfortunately a month later I got a written warning!

During my warning the injustice of it all struck me. I’d made a mistake then tried to rectify it and part of the reason I couldn’t was because of the lack of supervisors answering the phone – something beyond my control! But I stayed silent, I didn’t speak up for myself, instead agreeing to the warning. I am still ashamed of this story, of my refusal to defend myself. I tell you this story because I sometimes still see myself as that boy. This event still defines me.

I wish I’d done things differently, have been more of a ‘man’ and less of a doormat. But as long as I see that event, or any of the things that have happened to me, as a defining moment I will never be free to live the full life that Jesus promises. You see dying to ourselves is not just about sacrificially loving others, but also about refusing to play the imprisoning games of regret and guilt. Things don’t always go the way we want, and we don’t always act in the ways we want, but it is a waste of Jesus’ death if we don’t live in the freedom He won.

John 15:5 ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’