Once upon a time, I criticized a wounded soul for their bad behavior. With tears in their voice that person said to me. “You are condemning me because my sin is different than yours.”

As a teenager in rebellion to my childhood religious training, I left home at the age of 17 and joined the military. I was trained to kill with the best of them. Praise God I never had to do that. After the military, I went into law-enforcement.

Being raised on a farm/ranch, I learned how to hunt to protect our livestock and crops.

But somewhere it changed from a necessity into a sport/pleasure thing.

I loaded my own ammo and killed many innocent animals.

One day I jumped a coyote which was out of range. I started pulling the trigger and raising the rifle each time.

The coyote tumbled. I drove the distance and stepped out with pistol at the ready. The rifle caused devastating damage.

As I approached he turned to look at me. He had this pleading expression on his face, tears were trailing down his cheeks. I heard a voice, gentle but very distinct. “What did I do to you?”

Friend, there are no words to describe the shame and regret that filled my entire being. I put the poor animal out of his misery. Hunting was never the same after that.

I believe there are allegorical comparisons to the plan of salvation in this experience. But I have not worked them all out yet. I wonder if the coyote represents what I do to Jesus each time I sin?

I quit hunting and sold my guns. Was down to one small pistol. One day I heard that same voice say, “That one must go, too.”

“OK, I will sell it and never own another. But you must never allow me, for the rest of my life, to get into a situation where I wish I had a gun.”

Those guns were my God. I was depending upon them to keep me safe. Do you have a god?

Friend, that was about 50 years ago. To this day I have not been in a position where I wished I had a gun.

C. Dale Ruebush


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