Story of the Day for Friday July 13, 2012
Is It Legal to Call a Pig “Mrs. Johnson”?
“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it means nothing. But whoever swears by the gold in the temple must keep his oath.’”
When a man yelled at Mrs. Johnson and called her a pig, she sued him for defamation of character. The judge found the man guilty and fined him.
After the trial, the man asked the judge. “Does this mean, then, that I can’t call Mrs. Johnson a pig anymore?”
“That is correct,” said the judge.
“Am I allowed to call a pig Mrs. Johnson?”
The judge looked surprised, but said, “Yes, it’s legal to call a pig Mrs. Johnson.”
The man immediately glared at Mrs. Johnson and said, “Hello, Mrs. Johnson!”
Ever since we were young, we’ve been honing our skill at “Getting Around the Law.” Do you remember, as a kid, how you could renege on your promise if you explained that you had your fingers crossed when you made it?
As adults, did we outgrow this impulse, or simply become more sophisticated in doing it?
Most Americans still remember the infamous attempt to dodge the letter of the law in the response, “It all depends on what the meaning of “is” is.”
Not much has changed since Jesus’ day. The religious leaders of his day had their own version of “crossing your fingers.” They took the obligation to fulfill your vows very seriously. And well they should. But they created clever ways to get out of their oaths by differentiating the object by which they swore. If you swore by the gold in the temple, it counted. But, if you merely swore by the temple itself, you didn’t have to keep your promise.
Look – God is not fooled by our excuses to get around His law. He wants us to face squarely the obligations of righteous living. And, when you fail, honestly admit it.
Years ago, the French king would pardon one man from prison. As he went from cell to cell, each prisoner made emphatic appeals to being innocent and wrongfully imprisoned. All except for one man. He hung his head and said, “Your Majesty, I am a criminal. I deserve to be here because I committed the crimes for which I was sentenced.” The king shouted, “Warden! Release this man at once . . . before he corrupts all these other innocent men.”
Face the will of God head on, and the Lord will pick you up when you stumble.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)