Story of the Day for Friday September 9, 2011
He Might Be Talking To Me
It is time for judgment to begin with the house of God.
1 Peter 4:17
I don’t repent when I listen to sermons on repentance. In fact, they usually put me in a sorrier spiritual state.
When preachers rail against the wickedness in the world, it makes me wish everyone else would repent. After hearing all the lurid and revolting examples of evil, I feel as if I’m not so bad, by comparison.
In other words, sermons on repentance tend to make me unbearably self-righteous – which is the worst sin of all.
In his memoirs, An American Life, Ronald Reagan recalled a state dinner at the White House. French premiere, Francois Mitterrand and his wife were the guests of honor. After Reagan, Mitterrand, and their wives finished greeting the other guests in the East Room, they all went to the State Dining Room. The proper protocol was for everyone to stand until Nancy Reagan led Francois to her table and President Reagan led Mrs. Mitterrand to his.
Nancy and Mr. Mitterrand headed for their table, but Mrs. Mitterrand stood still – even after the butler motioned for her to be seated. She whispered something to President Reagan in French, which he didn’t understand. The guests remained standing. President Reagan quietly told her, “We’re supposed to go over there to the other side.” Mrs. Mitterrand whispered something back, but he didn’t understand what she was saying.
An interpreter then approached Reagan and said, “She’s telling you that you’re standing on her gown.”
I’m pretty good at spotting sin, and what I mean by that is I’m pretty good at spotting your sin. I’m not so good at realizing when I’m the one stepping on the gown.
In 2003, in the small town of Forest, Ohio, travelling evangelist, Don Hardman held a revival service at the First Baptist Church, and, in Mr. Hardman’s words, “We had a right good crowd of folks.”
He was preaching on repentance.
Shortly after he stared preaching, a storm rolled in. As the thunder began to rumble, Hardman told the congregation that, in the Bible, God’s voice sometimes sounded like thunder, and that God was speaking to them tonight. Hardman looked heavenward and said, “That’s right, God! We hear you!”
And then a bolt of lightning struck the church. Hardman, who was wearing a cordless mike, had sparks of electricity go from his belt buckle up to his microphone. There was a blue aura in the building as the lights flickered on and off and the sound system exploded. Heavy clay tiles from the steeple feel off and damaged a car in the parking lot.
No one was hurt, and Mr. Hardman continued to preach on repentance until a church trustee came in and said the steeple was on fire.
When God tells the world to repent, it’s so hard to realize he might be talking to me.
(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)