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Saturday, February 18, 2017

CBS Evening News segment "On the Road"

Bitter Grounds

In 2005, Benton Harbor, Michigan police officer, Andrew Collins, arrested Jameel McGee for dealing
drugs. In reality, McGee did not commit the crime; Collins had falsified the report. McGee,
however, was convicted and spent four years in prison for a crime that he did not commit. When
Collins' lies were exposed, he, too, spent 18 months behind bars. He had actually falsified many
police reports, planted drugs, and stolen money from the city.

"I took money from people. I took money from the city that I worked for. I was the lowest of low.
In my mind now, as I look back, I was as low as you can get as a police officer," Collins told The
Herald-Palladium.

McGee was fully exonerated but was very bitter toward his lying accuser. "I lost everything," he
said on the CBS Evening News segment "On the Road" with Steve Hartman. "My only goal was to seek
him when I got home and to hurt him."

Both McGee and Collins returned to Benton Harbor and ended up working alongside each other at the
Café Mosaic, a faith-based employment agency. They had to face each other and their troubled past.

Collins told CBS Evening News that he apologized to McGee. "I said, 'Honestly, I have no
explanation, all I can do is say I'm sorry.'"

McGee stated that that apology was "pretty much what I needed to hear." He forgave Collins and the
two have become friends. Collins is grateful and amazed at McGee's willingness to forgive. "He
doesn't owe me that. I don't deserve that," Collins said.

Now the two of them have been spreading the message of forgiveness to others. "We have this joint
mission, now, of letting the world know that if you owe an apology to somebody, put your pride down
and go apologize," said Collins. "And if you're holding something against somebody, let go of the
bitterness because it's like drinking poison and hoping it's hurting them."

"And clearly," Steve Hartman reflects, "if these two guys from the coffee shop can set aside their
bitter grounds, what's our excuse?" *

Our sins created "bitter grounds" with our relationship with our Creator and God. Our sins separate
us from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2).

But God loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins (John
3:16; Romans 5:8). Through Jesus, God's Son, we can have forgiveness of our sins and receive the
gift of eternal life (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 6:23).

We don't deserve it; we deserve the "wages of sin": death (Romans 6:23).

But God, because of His great love and mercy, has provided for us what we don't deserve:
forgiveness. And if we accept His offer on His terms, we can live with Him for eternity in heaven.

God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts
16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans
10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will
continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).

Jesus died for us so that those "bitter grounds" can be thrown out, we can be reconciled to God, and
live eternally with Him.

Won't YOU accept His offer on His terms?

~David A. Sargent

* Information gleaned from "Crooked cop pairs up with man he framed" by Steve Hartman as viewed on
CBS Sunday Morning and published on April 17, 2016. See the video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKE4qeX5EIA&t.

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