Friday, February 17, 2017

“By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer


           A whole lot of judgin’ be goin’ on these days.  Maybe we need to step back a bit and remember what Jesus had to say about it.  Maybe I can help a bit with the following story.  It’s a true story from the 1930’s, and it’s been written and rewritten thousands of time, so I felt fine about rewriting it myself to bring it up to date.  The basic elements of the story are all true.
          Quite a few years ago, a hedge fund manager who had profited greatly from the financial collapse of so many others took delivery of a brand new, red, V-12 Ferrari.  He finally felt that he had arrived and could feel the jealous looks of others as he wheeled his very expensive sports car around New York City.  Faithfully following the voice of his satellite navigation unit, he was directed through a seedier part of New York than he usually frequented.  Still, seeing the poverty around him, he felt only pride as he steered his beautiful new car around the potholes.  He was on his way to the turn that would take him back to his protected neck of the woods when he heard a loud “thunk” and felt something hit the side of his car.  He screeched to a stop, jumped out and saw that the side of his new Ferrari now had a big dent in its side, scratches in the expensive paint, and he saw a broken brick laying on the street under his car.  He furiously ran to the sidewalk searching for the miscreant, fully intending on beating him badly.  What he found was a seven-year-old boy with tears flowing from his eyes.  “I did it,” the boy confessed.  The Wall Street whiz grabbed the little boy and shoved him up against a wall.  “Why did you do it?” The man’s chest was heaving with anger at the little boy.  The boy struggled to get his breath and said, “I’m sorry, but no one else would stop.  My brother has fallen out of his wheelchair, and I can’t get him back up.”  To his credit, the angry man deflated just a little.  “Where is this brother of yours?” the man said, not sure whether to believe him or not.  “There,” the boy pointed, and there on the ground scratched and bleeding lay his brother and the overturned wheelchair.  The man put the boy down and picked up the brother, cleaned off his cuts and scratches with his Armani handkerchief and helped push the boy two blocks back to their home where the mother rushed out and took over, thanking the man profusely.  The man slowly walked back to his still damaged car, thinking all the way.  The next day, the man quit his job, moved to a rural area in upstate New York and built a center for children with disabilities with the money he had saved for a new home in the Hamptons.  It has been several years now, and he still has his Ferrari and it still has the dent in its side.  He still drives it proudly but not to show how much better he is than those around him.  These days, he drives it to always remind him that it took a brick in the hand of a small boy to teach him the true value of riches.  He says he is happier now than he has ever been and all those who know him agree.  He has changed the lives of many, many children and given their parents hope—all because of a little boy and a brick that left a now rusty dent in the passenger door of a once very expensive car.  Ask the man now, and he will tell you that the brick was worth much more than the car and that he is sorry it took something as extreme as that to open his eyes to the real world around him.  
        Saul had to be knocked to the ground on the way to Damascus to finally experience Christ.  I am sad to say it took a figurative slap to my head with a two-by-four to get my attention and to focus my eyes on Christ.  I pray that you will lift your eyes and see what Christ is offering you.  You are not defined by what you were in the past, but in Christ, you are completely new and without dents.  I pray that it will not take a brick hitting your car to get your attention.  AMEN.
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