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Old Faithful
Photo: Brian Lary
With summer now behind us, and the hope of Indian summer remaining, I can’t help but wonder, “How does it all go by so fast?” Hopefully, you will still be able to spend some relaxing days boating, camping, swimming, hiking or perhaps enjoying one or more of our beautiful national parks.

Ironically, one woman who did so, ended up in jail over marshmallows and hot chocolate! CNN.com reported that a teacher’s aide who forgot to put away her marshmallows and hot chocolate at Yellowstone National Park a couple of years ago, was taken from her cruise ship cabin in handcuffs a year later, and hauled before a judge, accused of failing to pay the fine.

Hope Clarke, 32, crying and in leg shackles, told the judge she was rousted at 6:30 a.m., by federal agents after the ship returned to Miami from Mexico. She insisted that she had paid the $50 fine before she left Yellowstone, which has strict rules about food storage to prevent wildlife from eating human food.

It seems that customs agents meet all cruise ships arriving from foreign ports and run random checks of passenger lists. A warrant claiming Clarke had not paid the fine was found in the federal law enforcement database.

Unfortunate Set of Circumstances

A U.S. Magistrate, who had a copy of a citation indicating the fine had been paid, apologized to Clarke, who spent nearly nine hours in detention. The spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement called the arrest “an unfortunate set of circumstances.”

Most of us can sympathize with this woman for we have all been unjustly accused at some time in our lives. Often it is something very minor, but other times it can be so major as to lead to the loss of a job, or a relationship. We may even receive a permanent smear to our character that is totally undeserved.

At times like these it is human nature to want to get even, or “pay back” the person who has wrongly accused us, or at the very least harbor resentment against them indefinitely. God however, tells us that this prerogative belongs to the Almighty. “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

We can be assured that God is faithful to keep all promises. Sooner or later, the Lord will bring justice to every situation. In the meantime, God wants to free us from the fallout of negative emotions. And, that freedom comes when we forgive.

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By Kathy A. Lewis. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from Today's English Version.

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