Saturday, October 4, 2014

“The only man who has the right to say that he is justified by grace alone is the man who has left all to follow Christ.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

No blog because we have no internet.  I am posting this using three phones connected by tin foil and a wire coat hanger.

This could have been me when I was a child.  It was me when I was in my forties after a life lived worshipping the wrong gods.  I didn’t write this but I did make a few alterations—like I do with life.

A little boy was was brought by his teacher to the principal for the seventh time in the first two months of school.  Before the teacher can say anything, the boy says somewhat proudly, “I’m here for my whipping.”  After all, the first six times he was brought to the principal’s office, he had had his hands slapped with a belt, the number increasing with every visit.  This time though, the principal looks at the defiant child and says, “What you need is grace.”  The boy doesn’t understand and asks, “You mean there won’t be no whipping?”  “Oh no,” the principal replies, “there will be a whipping.”  The principal nods toward the teacher and says, "Bring me the belt."  The teacher presents the belt to the principal.  He carefully folds it in two and hands it back to the teacher.  He looks at the the little boy and says, "I want you to count the blows."  The principal slides out from behind his desk and walks over to the child.  The boy stands defiantly with his hands outstretched.  The principal gently moves the child’s expectant hands down to his sides.  Turning to the teacher, the principal stretches out his own hands and quietly says, "Begin."   The belt slaps against the principal’s outstretched hands. Crack!  The young boy jumps.  Shock registers across his face, "One" he whispers.  Crack! "Two."  His voice raises an octave.  Crack!  "Three."  He is unable to believe this.  Crack!  "Four."  Big tears well up in the eyes of the young rebel. "Okay, stop! That's enough. Stop!"  Crack!  The belt continues to come down on the principal’s swollen hands.  Crack!  The child flinches with each blow.  Tears start streaming down the child’s face.  Crack! Crack! "No, please," the former rebel begs.  "Stop. I’m the one who did it. I'm the one who deserves the punishment. Stop! Please stop," the boy sobs.  Still the blows come.  Crack! Crack!   Finally it is over.  The principal, with sweat glistening across his forehead, turns to the former rebel boy and kneels down. Carefully cradling the boy’s face with his swollen hands, the principal softly says, "This, my boy, is grace."

Grace is not getting the bad which you do deserve but rather getting the good that you could never deserve.  I know.  When someone asks me how I am, I always reply, “Better than I deserve.”  That is grace.
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