Tag Archives: reconciliation

Once You’ve Heard Their Story

Story of the Day for Saturday April 28, 2012

Once You’ve Heard Their Story

He will not judge by what his eyes see or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with justice he will give his verdict on the needy, and will make fair decisions for the meek of the earth.
Isaiah 11:3-4

In 1873, Karl Asmis, a young German forester was deputized by the local postmaster to deliver an important letter. The envelope contained a large sum of money.

The letter was never delivered. Karl reported that, while walking through the woods to deliver the letter, he shot a rabbit. He figured the easiest way to carry both would be to tie the envelope around the rabbit’s neck and sling the rabbit over his shoulder.

But, Karl claimed, the rabbit wasn’t dead; only stunned. It squirmed out of his grasp and hopped into the forest with the envelope around its neck.

An imaginative story, but no one was buying it. Karl was shunned by everyone in town.

Sometimes people say things that betray their lack of believability or dimwittedness.

Joe Theismann was a two time Pro Bowl quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He led his team to a Super Bowl victory, and then his career was abruptly ended when Giants linebacker, Lawrence Taylor’s tackle shattered Theismann’s lower leg.

Theismann became a sportscaster and his most well-known utterance did nothing to disabuse us of the “dumb jock” stereotype. When another reporter asked Theismann whether he considered his former coach, Joe Gibbs, to be a genius, Theismann said he didn’t think the word “genius” was appropriate. “A genius,” Theismann said, “is a guy like Norman Einstein.”

I scorn liars and snicker at others who say dumb things. And I’m pretty good at finding fault with other people.

But I’ve noticed that, once I get to know someone personally, my attitude changes. Andrew Stanton tells the story about the former television host, Mr. Rogers. Stanton says Mr. Rogers always carried a quote in his wallet that said: “Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love, once you’ve heard their story.”

Isaiah 11 is a prophecy that, when the Messiah comes, he won’t be predisposed to judge us. He will come to hear our story and bring reconciliation rather than condemnation.

Back to Joe Theismann. When Joe went to South River High School in New Jersey, he would occasionally play basketball and touch football with a kid down the block. This high school classmate was brilliant. He was the class valedictorian and is now a physician.

His name was Norman Einstein.

As for Theismann, he was an All-American quarterback in college. But he was also an academic All-American. Joe Theismann isn’t a dumb jock; he’s a bright guy.

And before we leave Karl Asmis eternally covered in shame, Doug Storer, in his book  Amazing But True Facts, says that a few years after the money disappeared, some boys reported finding a hawk’s nest. In it were remnants of a rabbit’s skeleton. And the inside of the nest was lined with money.
                                        (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Sometimes Dreams Do Come True

Story of the Day for Monday February 20, 2012

Sometimes Dreams Do Come True

                     “Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.”

                                                                 Matthew 5:9

Are you dismayed by the hostile political climate in our day? Don’t you wish we could return to the spirit of our Founding Fathers and cooperate in mutual trust?

We picture the Founding Fathers gathered in the convention hall in Philadelphia – patiently waiting their turn to stand in the midst of the assembly and stretch out their arm in a noble pose and say something famous, like, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Then everyone would repair to the nearest tavern for a tankard of ale and a plate of apple pan dowdy, and spend an agreeable afternoon deciding who got to speak the next famous saying on the morrow.

 

Unfortunately, it was never like that. The Founding Fathers were certainly courageous; they knew their decisions placed their lives in jeopardy. And they were unbelievably intelligent, because back then, they elected you to office on the basis of ability, not your good looks.

But, despite their common vision of a nation governed by the consent of the people, as men of great passion, they squabbled and fought like alley cats. Two of them, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, grew so incensed with each other that they fought a duel to the death.

But the bitterest feud was between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Though the two had been friends for many years, their differing political viewpoints boiled over in mutual accusations. After exchanging pungent letters, they refused to communicate with each other for years.

 

Benjamin Rush was a mutual friend of Adams and Jefferson, a fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a devout Christian.

Rush sought to reconcile the two. He wrote to Adams about a dream he had. He dreamed that Adams had written a kind letter to Jefferson, and that Jefferson returned an equally gracious letter. In his dream, the two men reconciled their differences and renewed their friendship. Then both of them “sunk into the grave nearly at the same time, full of years . . .”

 

Adams did write a conciliatory letter to Jefferson. Benjamin Rush immediately wrote to Adams, “I rejoice in the correspondence which has taken place between you and your old friend, Mr. Jefferson.” Jefferson wrote a gracious letter back. Rush wrote to Jefferson to rejoice in “this reunion of two souls destined to be dear to each other . . .”

Through a peacemaker, these two giants of our nation’s founding were reconciled.

In the 50th year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, full of years, died. Hours later on the same day, John Adams passed away . . . on the 4th of July.

Sometimes dreams do come true.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Kissing a Clenched Fist

Story of the Day for Tuesday July 19, 2011

 

Kissing a Clenched Fist

                   They got into such a heated argument that they parted company. 

                                                                    Acts 15:39

 Before Paul became a believer, he despised the church. He breathed out murderous threats against the church and tried to arrest anyone who listened to Christian radio stations. Jesus finally turned Paul’s life around, but the church leaders were too afraid of him to let him into the fellowship. Barnabas, bless his heart, took Paul to meet the leaders of the church and convinced them his conversion was genuine.

Paul befriended Barnabas and the two stood by each other’s side in a great theological debate about how to handle pagans who came to the faith. On a missionary trip, the two shared their adventures together.

Yet, despite their close friendship and shared adventures, Paul and Barnabas got into a squabble about whether to take Mark along on their next trip. The argument grew so heated that Paul and Barnabas parted ways.

 

We’re all a bit daffy about arguments. If we estimated how often the rest of the world is in the right when they argue, we’d say, “Oh, about half the time.” But, if we ask ourselves how often we’re in the right when we get in an argument, we would respond, “All the time!” All of us think this way, but if you do the math, it doesn’t add up.

 

Arguments often flare up over trivial differences. If Paul and Barnabas would have decided to take a nap first or share a candy bar, I doubt they would have even gotten into the scuffle they did. They could’ve worked it out.

 

James Kay, in his book, Seasons of Grace, described an incident in Damascus, Syria, where a bicyclist rode down a market street, balancing a crate of oranges on his handlebars. A man, bent over with a heavy load, walked in his way and the two collided. Oranges went rolling down the street and the two got into a quarrel over who was at fault. A crowd gathered as the cursing and clenched fists indicated a fight was about to erupt.

Then a little man walked into the fray, took the clenched fist of the bicyclist in his hands and kissed it. The two men relaxed and the crowd murmured their approval. Instead of assigning blame everyone gathered the oranges and put them back in the crate, as the little man slipped into the crowd.

 

Like the rest of us, even the apostle Paul could slip up. But all was not lost because he knew where he wanted to go. He knew that we should avoid quarreling, but when we do, we must learn to reconcile.

As an old man, he advised Timothy, “Avoid foolish and stupid disputes because you know they cause quarrels. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel.”

And, he also asked Timothy to bring Mark along on his next visit, because “he is a good help in my ministry.”

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)