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How Dare You Judge Us!

Story of the Day for Monday September 26, 2011

How Dare You Judge Us!

                     He was despised and forsaken by the people. A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. 

                                                     Isaiah 53:3

 On the great Judgment Day, when all stand before God, some in the teeming crowd began to raise their voices. They weren’t weeping with cries of shame or remorse. They were angry.

One of them shouted to those around him, “How can God judge us?”

“Yeah,” shouted a woman, “what does God know about the kind of life and suffering we had to go through?” The woman lifted her arm to reveal the brand of a tattooed number from a Nazi concentration camp.

“Our persecution was unimaginable. We endured beatings, torture, and death!”

A black man stepped forward. “What about this?” He lowered his collar to show an ugly rope burn around his neck.

“Lynched!  For the crime of having dark skin.” He spoke bitterly of the injustice he and his people had suffered: betrayed by Head Hunters, forced into slave ships, separated from family, and forced to live without recourse to justice.

 

Soon everyone had their story to tell. They spoke of the shame of being born an illegitimate child. Lepers painfully recounted what it was like to be an “untouchable” and to live isolated and lonely.  A businessman told his story of financial success – only to be betrayed and defrauded by his friend and business partner, and to die broke.

A movie star edged closer to the center of the complaints. The crowd sneered at her as one who didn’t know what it was like to suffer misfortune at the hands of God.

But the movie star won them over. Through tears, she recounted her life of celebrity. Everybody wanted to know her, but she could trust no one. Wherever she went, she was hounded by crowds pleading for autographs, paparazzi chasing her every move and selling every unflattering photo to the scandal magazines, who created false or misleading headlines of her personal life.

“How would you like it,” she asked, “if, whenever you try to sneak away for a short vacation, you are swarmed by those who could care less about invading your privacy?”

The crowd murmured their approval, and included her in the group.

 

The indignant crowd chose leaders to approach God’s throne and present their grievances. They chose a Jew, a leper, a black, and an untouchable from India. On behalf of the others they presented their case before God.

“How dare you judge us! You sit here removed from the temptations and sufferings we endured on earth, and now you have the gall to judge us for our anger and failure and retaliation against those who hurt us?” Another added, “You don’t know what it’s like to endure what we have on earth.”

There was silence while the leaders awaited God’s response. Then someone stood up before the throne. He stretched before them his nail-pierced hands.

And, in that moment, they realized that God had already served his sentence.

                                                               (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Because of Who He Is

Story of the Day for Monday May 22, 2011


Because of Who He Is

                    No one would hardly give their life for a righteous man, although, for a good man someone might possibly dare to die for them.   But God demonstrates his love for us by this: while we were still sinners, Christ gave his life for us. 

                                                                                Romans 5:7-8

When I was a student at a teacher’s college, I worked as the editor of a small newspaper.  My office was deep in the bowels of the administration building and the basement doors were heavy – as if built to repel an army of invading Cossacks.

Terry (as I’ll call him) had just passed through when he noticed me going toward the door with my arms filled with a load of books and papers.  He outraced me to the door so he could open it for me.

Terry was like that: he responded with remarkable quickness to the needs of others.  I didn’t know it until later, but Terry would volunteer his time each week and go into the inter-city of Chicago to be a Big Brother to kids who had no dad.

One stormy evening I waited on the third floor of the admin building.  We had a student meeting and I was waiting for Terry because I wanted to talk with him.

No Terry.

Later that evening, the Dean of Students walked into the room.  He was visibly shaken and he spoke slowly.  The storm that afternoon, he told us, was so fierce that  twenty foot waves from Lake Michigan hammered the shore, and were even spraying water on the freeway, Lake Shore Drive.

Terry was in the city with his “kids,” who were fascinated by the storm, so Terry decided to walk down to the lake to get a closer look.

Near the shore, they watched a man walk out on a pier.  But a fierce wave rolled in and swept him into the lake.  Warning the boys to stay put he raced onto the pier and took off his coat and held it out – hoping the man could grasp it.

He never got the chance. Another wave crashed over the pier and washed Terry into the waters, while the two boys watched their Big Brother sink beneath the waves and disappear.

As the Dean told us about Terry, we cried, but no one was surprised.  We all knew it was just like Terry to do something like that.

I am White.  Terry was Black. The stranger he tried to save was Hispanic.  Terry never took the time to assess a person’s worth before offering his assistance.  He cared for people because of who he was – not because of who they were.

When God demonstrated his love for us; when Jesus gave his life up for us, he did not first calculate the caliber of our goodness. He died for us – not because of who we are, but because of who he is.

                                                   (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)