David’s Rescue: A Cautionary Tale

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We often teach or preach based on a single passage, parable, or even chapter of scripture. But I LOVE hearing the voice of David Suchet (who played Hercule Poirot for 25 years of drama) read the Holy Bible in the NIV-UK version, and found myself listening to the Book of 1 Samuel as Mr. Suchet narrated.

In Chapter 24 we see King Saul, maddened with jealousy and fear, seeking the life of David. While David and his men hide in a cave stronghold, Saul (leading his men) enters the cave to answer a call of nature, and David has his perfect opportunity to dispatch this enemy. He refrains, not to bloody his hands in revenge against the Lord’s anointed king. To hear the encounter and its conclusion (which takes 3 minutes and 48 seconds) click RIGHT HERE.

Normally, teaching ends right there and we break until another week, or lesson, or sermon, or whatever. (After all… the chapter is ended… go in peace… etc.) But as one blessed teacher of mine was always diligent to point out… “Scripture itself” didn’t come with chapter divisions. The next chapter “looks like” it takes up a whole new topic as David deals with some new characters Nabal and Abigail.

I was just letting Mr. Suchet transport me without interruption, and for the first time I saw this really cool thing I thought I’d share.

David is prudently yet living in the “field” with his forces, as King Saul wavers between contrition and homicidal fury. In the past, David has done good things for Nabal, protecting his staff and his goods in the wilderness, preserving them from any loss. He sends messengers with blessings and courteous words, and asks for such provisions as Nabal might spare for David and his troops.

Nabal, both named and acting the fool by nature, not only refuses succor, but rebuffs the messengers with deep insults and contempt for David. David seems cut to the quick, and resolves to redeem his honor and pride by killing every male of Nabal’s holdings. Fortunately, Nabal’s servants have overheard the initial insulting encounter, report all this to Abigail the mistress of the household, Nabal’s wife, who has provisions prepared and travels to David with words of service and apology, along with praise for the God of Israel and David as His servant.

To hear the entirety of THIS part of the story, take 7 minutes 50 seconds and hear Mr. Suchet narrate RIGHT HERE.

Generally, this also is taught as a “distinct chapter”, a “unit”, and we focus on the wisdom of Abigail, the foolishness and haughtiness of Nabal, on God’s wrath and judgment of Nabal, and the “everyone lived happily ever after” of the outcomes. All well, true, and good as far as it goes.

But this time, I was arrested by David’s gratitude towards Abigail for preventing his sin against Nabal’s household. She calmed his wounded pride and thirst for revenge, and he very distinctly thanked her for that. (I wonder if it was this, that attracted him to ask her hand in marriage when she was widowed.) But his words here are…

‘Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.’ [verses 32-33]

And later…

‘Praise be to the Lord, who has upheld my cause against Nabal for treating me with contempt. He has kept his servant from doing wrong and has brought Nabal’s wrongdoing down on his own head.’ [verse 39]

What struck me today was something I’d never seen before, and it only hit me because of the short time between the two narratives… but…

Isn’t it interesting how nobly David resists any temptation to avenge himself on King Saul, for his contempt, his insults, and his murderous pursuit, citing his refusal to have blood on his hands of the Lord’s anointed? And yet how soon thereafter David is roused to a murderous rage over the ill-chosen (all right, the “stupid”) words of a fool? He had cared for all those workmen in the wilderness, and they apparently loved and respected him (for it was they who went to Ms. Abigail)… and yet by this simple prick of his ego, this slight to his accomplishments, dignity, and graciousness, he prepares to slaughter who knows how many, to vent his wrath.

Rightly, he praises God and Abigail for preventing him from so great a sin, and life carries on.

But it struck me, and I wanted to share with you, Gentle Reader… how often we can sense a “large” spiritual challenge to our grace, and overcome it… only to fall to some niggling pettifogging prick to pride, ego, or dignity.

If David had killed the men of Nabel’s household, he’d have slain the very men who admired him and went to Abigail. Would such murder have been as great a sin as the regicide of King Saul? With “sin” and “God” is there such a question as “how big”?

This struck me, for myself, as a cautionary tale. It sometimes seems much easier to avoid the “big sins” in my life, only to fall so frequently to the “fleas” that seem able to niggle in past the plates of my armor. The Enemy doesn’t give up on temptation after one unsuccessful attempt, and I’ve long learned that “adrenalin is the Enemy’s favorite drug of choice”. If I can be made impatient or aggravated, if my pride or dignity can be pricked and offended, I can reach a murderous anger far more easily than I care to admit. (Cf. Matthew 5:21-22)

Anyway, just a cool thing I’ve never seen before, nor heard taught or preached… Thought you might find it interesting as well, Gentle Reader. Grace to you… Pray for me always!

Goodbye 2016

How was 2016 for you?

I can’t complain. The political stuff that filled my Facebook newsfeed was quite annoying and tiring. I really just want happiness on my newsfeed……live puppies safe at home, as opposed to lost puppies or abused puppies. I want flowers and birds, as opposed to dead rainforests and killing the bees posts. I want images of people enjoying the life they’ve been given as opposed to dead or bloodied bodies in war torn nations or children crying in the streets.

I know I sound like I want to avoid all conflict. I don’t and I can’t. BUT I just don’t want it on my Facebook page. The hate is real. The wars are real. The lost kids and dogs are real. I can find those reports on the news. I know there is stink in this world.

But what I also know is that exposing myself constantly to negativity makes me sad, can bring on depression and hopelessness, and even poor health.

So why do we do it? Why complain about your health, etc., and keep on filling your eyes and mind with the negatives??

Just words for you to ponder.  It’s a New Year upon us, 2017. Do you want to change? I do. I’m trying and it is not easy. Not for anyone. It takes hard work and concentration and deliberate actions to change our thinking, our eating, our exercising. But the results of the hard work will be amazing!

Here are some wise words to repeat often that will help:

Philippians 4:8-9The Message (MSG)

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Isn’t that beautiful? That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this last day of the year.

Now here are some photos I grabbed on an intentional, refreshing drive yesterday. Enjoy! And may you have a prosperous and healthy New Year!

Cate B

The Church as We Know Her

Recently, God started revealing another aspect of this Christian walk that I couldn’t quite figure out for some time. A simple statement someone mentioned opened up a beautiful perspective on the “why.” First, I wanted to explain a little of the background, relevant as to how I’ve come to see things.

It appears many Christian organizations are adamant about defending their stances while claiming Biblical backing. Mostly though, this backing seems skewed. One example (of many), when Paul speaks about deacons and overseers, the requirements wouldn’t be terribly hard for the majority of “laity” today. Yet many in a congregation are relegated to participating in a weekly ritual instead of becoming deacons and overseers as new fellowships form. The requirements have now been elevated beyond the reach of most laypeople. Instead of a spreading, there is a containment in deference to building a ministry upwards instead of letting it flow outwards.

What we see in the early church is an out-flowing as congregations spreaded from house to house and new overseers and deacons became needed to serve these new fellowships. These weren’t paid positions, and they didn’t require the purchasing of buildings and other worldly assets. Instead, any money voluntarily given was used for those who needed it—whether that was inside or outside of that specific congregation. In comparison, much of our money today goes to keeping the machinery running instead of helping others. The small percentage that may go to others is paltry in comparison to the potential impact we could be having in our world.

However, even though the format we’ve established today may (arguably) not be Biblical, there is, admittedly, some movement of the Holy Spirit—if only on rare occasion. This is upheld as irrefutable proof that “our” ministry is right and that if we continue to repeat the same things over and over, the Holy Spirit will continue to move in the same way. In other words, it would seem that we seek containment and control of the Holy Spirit within our doctrinal confines, even though this may not be our conscious intent. We seek to market God to others in the setting and way we’ve predefined, setting limits as to how the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in our world.

This brings me to the question that has been on my mind for some time, but I couldn’t quite resolve—If our modern church entity wasn’t Jesus’ intent (according to how he describes her in the Bible), why do we see an occasional movement within these institutions? I’m not necessarily speaking of an emotionally charged movement (I have honestly never been able to relate to those being such a heavily introverted thinker), but a tangible spiritual awakening of souls when they encounter Jesus “face to face.”

The answer was so simple yet so profound when I came across it—If someone is truly seeking healing (or salvation, or whatever terms we may use), Jesus heals them where they are at, regardless of the faulty systems we create to try to contain his movements. In contrast, Jesus healed me after I had been outside of what we know today as church for over 11 years!

Suddenly, another aspect of the Bible began to crystallize for me. Like Israel demanding a king when they already had God as their Sovereign, we tend to believe we are in need of a hierarchical clergy system when we already have Jesus as our direct High Priest and Shepherd. Our systems only seem to increase the gap between us and Father by eclipsing the direct relationship that was established by the Son in his incarnation and through the victory of the cross. Yet still, this doesn’t stop the Holy Spirit from working. God still works through our broken systems to bring about healing to those who believe that is where healing can be found—even if it furthers our often misguided agendas. Jesus is concerned first and foremost with bringing restoration to the broken in hopes that they will see the beauty of living in his kingdom—the kingdom that isn’t constructed by human hands.

So why don’t we all just participate in the system we have even though it’s imperfect? I’ve come to believe, through no small amount of pain, that some may be called into those systems where God leads them, as was I for a time. Likewise, I believe some may be called outside of those systems, again, where God leads them, as I now have been. However, it would seem our systems do more to inhibit the gospel—the kingdom brought near by Jesus—from spreading in the world than they do to advance it. Likewise, we get a dichotomy of in versus out that only serves to harm our witness to the watching world—where we are called to love one another. So many hurting people are seeing how much professed Christians hate each other, partially because of our “in” or “out” statuses and partially because of our rigidness. These battered souls are choosing instead to pass altogether on seeking healing if it only seeks to convert them to a “side” in that same conflict.

Our call is to humbly embrace our “in” or “out” brothers and sisters and allow those who need healing to follow the Holy Spirit to a place they can find just that. Perhaps we need more fluidity to move with the Holy Spirit as it moves like the wind to where those in need reside. Instead, the dogmas we’ve created, both inside and out, serve as walls that we are continually hindered by. This not only hurts our witness, but it keeps us from truly loving each other on a deeper, spiritual level.

This is a rough lesson God has been walking me through over the past 2.5 years on the outside, and there are still plenty of snares and diversions that seek to drag me away from pursing such love for others. Still, I believe Jesus’ Church will survive and become stronger regardless of our human attempts to bend her to our worldly agendas—whether those reside inside or outside of an institution.

The Path of Thorns

There’s no way he can worm his way out of this one! We were able to catch this woman dead to rights in the middle of adultery. I can’t wait to see the look on his face when we present her to him. If he excuses her, he will have violated the Law of Moses, and if he condemns her, he will prove that he is just like us. It’s the perfect setup! Finally, we can expose him for the fraud he is.

When we arrived at the Temple grounds, this Jesus fellow was teaching some more of his nonsense to a gathering crowd. Oh are they in for a surprise!

“Teacher,” one of my colleagues interrupted as we burst on the scene, “This woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” As he finished his statement, I reached down and picked up the nearest rock signaling for the crowd to follow suit.

At first, Jesus looked like he had been caught off guard, but instead of fumbling for an answer, he just took a deep breath, let it out, and then knelt down to the ground. He began to draw in the sand as the watching crowd drew in a little closer to see what he might be revealing. Does he think that we’re so naive? Hah! Look at him, acting so calm and collected like he has all the answers. He’s just stalling for time!

As I glanced at what he was drawing, however, a chill suddenly shot up my spine and the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Everyone else seemed oblivious, but somehow I knew from the first few strokes what it was—a cross!

Did he know? Had he overheard? It was only an idle comment. My colleagues and I had been discussing this Jesus character a few days earlier. I jokingly made the suggestion that we could set him up so the Romans would crucify him. Had someone told him? Had he been lurking somewhere in the shadows? Or….was he….was he really from God? My heart sank and sweat began to soak my brow as I realized we may have made a terrible mistake.

Just then, one of my colleagues began demanding an answer from Jesus. Jesus stood to his feet, closed his eyes, and let out another long sigh as though he was deeply saddened. Then, he opened his eyes and looked in my direction. At first, my heart began to race, but as I looked into his face, he had a rather remorseful look about him. I couldn’t hold the gaze for long though so I looked away—right to the ground where the completed cross had been drawn. No one else seemed to have noticed since my colleague’s outburst. I began to tremble as my grip tightened on the stone in my hand. It was only a brief moment, but it felt like an eternity tormented by the situation.

“Alright,” Jesus said, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” This time a bolt of lightning rushed up my spine. I was certain of it now; somehow he knew what I had said. As I hesitantly looked back up, unsure of what to do now, Jesus was looking directly at me. At first I wanted to slink to the back of the crowd, but I noticed that his demeanor had changed—now, he had the most loving expression on his face that I had ever seen. It was like he was saying that it was okay, that he wasn’t angry with me—that…that he was letting me off the hook! Again, his gaze was too pure to look at for long and tears began to well up in my eyes. As I looked down to the stone in my trembling hand, a million thoughts raced through my mind. Why would he just let me off the hook like that? Why didn’t he seek revenge? Why didn’t he tell the crowd the truth—that we….that I had suggested he be setup and crucified? How….how could he just forgive me like that? Is this how our Father really is—loving us even at our worse? What can I do now? Oh God, this is such a mess!

As all these thoughts echoed in my head, tears trickled down my face and splashed against the parched stones. What have I done!? What have I been doing with my life!? The weight of the stone began to increase exponentially. I remorsefully dropped it from my shaking hand, and it hit the ground with a loud thud. I didn’t know what to do, but I could no longer stay there. As I made my way through the crowd, I heard the people murmuring to each other. My compatriots, though, seemed quiet, but I didn’t turn back to see what their reaction was. Then, one by one, I began to hear other thuds as I was making my way out of the crowd. Others were leaving the scene right behind me, but I didn’t turn back to look. Instead, I began to disgracefully run. I ran without stopping through the streets until I reached the residence I maintained there. I rushed to my quiet place and fell to my knees, sobbing uncontrollably.

“God, please forgive me!” I yelled repeatedly. I knew I wasn’t supposed to say his name out loud, but I no longer cared if anyone overheard. My position among the religious teachers was probably forfeit already, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back anyway. Perhaps I should just move back to my hometown. At least my family is still there, and they didn’t have to witness the events of today.

As I sat there weeping, a sense of immense peace came over me that I couldn’t quite explain. I felt that somehow everything was going to be alright.


Jesus and I had a few beautiful conversations after that. I found myself drawn to his loving presence though often his words were so counter to everything I’d been taught to believe. I tried to convince him to stay away from Jerusalem, but he kept assuring me that everything was going to turn out exactly as it was supposed to. I also tried to find the woman that we had condemned to stoning, but she seemed to have disappeared—and asking around was getting me into more and more trouble. Jesus assured me that everything was going to be okay with her also, and that she had her own road to travel. I tried to trust him at his word, but it’s hard to let go of the control I thought I had for so long.

I never returned to my position in Jerusalem, though I often pleaded with some of my former colleagues to abandon their pursuance of Jesus. I spoke with Herod also insisting that Jesus really was the Messiah—the Son of God! I even petitioned Pontius Pilate not to give in to the Sanhedrin, but all was to no avail.

Now…here he is—the Messiah…our Savior—-beaten and bloody, forced to make the trek to Golgotha bearing his own cross. Tears streamed down my face as he stumbled onward, hardly able to carry the weight. I felt powerless. Is this really the path he was destined to take?

And then….he collapsed.

My heart sank as I thought of all the anguish he had already endured. I looked up to see some of my old colleagues across the way. Some looked smugly satisfied at the scene, though others looked troubled, like deep down they knew this whole charade was wrong. Was it happening to them too? Were they becoming remorseful at what was going on? Was Jesus’ love breaking through to them also?

As one of the soldiers prodded Jesus to get him on his feet again, I could no longer stand there and do nothing. As I stepped out, Nicodemus grabbed my arm and whispered harshly, “Simon, what are you doing!? You’re going to get yourself in trouble with the Romans—and the Sanhedrin—and Herod! Think about your family back in Cyrene!” As I looked at Nicodemus, tears dripping from my face, his eyes too begin to swell as he could no longer hold back the pain in his own heart. He sighed remorsefully then nodded as he loosened his grip on my arm.

As I stepped out, I placed my hands together and upright in front of me to show the Romans I had no weapons or intent of violence. I immediately caught the attention of one of the soldiers. He began to ready his spear, but then realized my composure. For a moment, he seemed a bit perplexed. He looked back to the other soldiers that were still attending to Jesus. After a brief moment’s thought, he looked at me and nodded. “You,” he stated loudly enough to catch the attention of the other guards, “come and carry this man’s cross.”

Relieved that he understood, I walked over to Jesus and placed his arm across my back and his cross on my shoulder. We then, slowly, made the agonizing trek onward to Golgotha.

Wood and Stone

This is absolutely the worse day of my life—and probably the last! I can’t believe I was caught in the middle of the act. I’m struggling to cover myself as the religious teachers and Pharisees are dragging me through the street. They seem almost smug as they talk about a teacher they are taking me before. If they are this merciless, I can only imagine how this teacher will judge me.

As they toss me into the dirt, I see a crowd gathered, still somewhat perplexed by the intrusion. The men who drug me here then turned to the teacher and stated my offense—caught in the very act of adultery!

“The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” one of the Pharisees demanded.

The teacher seemed like he was in mid-sentence before the interruption, mouth still poised as though he was ready to continue his teaching. Instead, he sighed deeply as he looked to the man that had asked the question. The teacher seemed greatly disappointed, but not with me—he seemed disappointed with them!

Suddenly my mind was a buzz. Who was this teacher? Why was he disappointed with them? Perhaps they should have brought my lover along also….and how did they know what we were doing?

The crowd began searching for stones as the teacher was looking at the religious leaders with an expression of great sadness across his face. Then, he simply bent down and, of all things, started doodling in the sand! What he was writing didn’t seem to have any meaning, yet the crowd was focusing on the patch of dirt intently as though some great wisdom was going to manifest itself from the dust. It was then I noticed that all of the attention had been taken off of me—everyone was focused on him instead! He…he was taking all my guilt and shame onto himself!

Yet, it wasn’t long before one of the Pharisees began demanding again that the teacher give them an answer. The teacher slowly stood up, closed his eyes, and let out another long, disappointed sigh.

“Alright,” he said with sorrow as he opened his eyes again and looked at an elder at the head of the crowd, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.” As the teacher looked compassionately at him, tears began to well up in the elder’s eyes. He averted them to the stone in his hand, focusing on it as though he was thinking back to some deeply traumatic event. As tears began to stream down his face, he dropped his stone and slowly turned to make his way through the crowd and away from the scene. As he was walking through the crowd, others looked stunned at the elder’s tears and began similarly looking at their stones. One by one, they began sorrowfully dropping their stones to the ground and walking away. A few in the crowd looked to the religious leaders still remaining who at first seemed infuriated, but then remorse seemed to slowly overtake them as well as though they were the ones who were naked and exposed. One by one, they too began to slip away.

When I looked back to the teacher, he was again doodling in the sand. This time, though, what he was drawing began looking slightly more familiar—three crosses like the Romans used to crucify people. For some reason, tears began to well up in my eyes also.

He then stopped doodling and looked at me with a deeply compassionate gaze and said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” I was sure there was a glimpse of a smile as he asked.

I struggled to find words as the entire situation had twisted so much. As I looked around again, I timidly said, “No one, Lord.”

“Neither do I condemn you,” he replied as his face burst into a warm, radiant smile, “go, and from now on sin no more.”

For a moment, I felt as though I didn’t want to go. It was so beautiful here in his presence, and I truly felt free of sin. As he gently smiled again at me, reality snapped back and I realized that I was at the Temple half nude. I quickly stood and hurried back to my home.


For some time after that encounter, I wondered just who he was, and why he had told me to “sin no more.” Sure, I had never committed adultery again, but how is it possible to never sin again? Later, I heard someone proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom has come near!”—Just turn around, the kingdom is right here! These words seemed to penetrate to the depths of my soul, and it flourished again reminiscent of when I was in the teacher’s presence. Yet, I still felt unable to break totally free of sin, and I still felt too ashamed that I would be recognized in public if I began to seek answers.

As I was again turning over these things in my head, I reached the outskirts of the city to dispose of my refuse. I was relieved that it was unusually dark that day, making it less likely that I would be recognized on my journey. As I looked, I could barely make out the silhouettes of three crosses on the top of the hill. Suddenly my heart stopped and I felt I couldn’t breathe as I remembered the teacher’s drawing in the sand. I dropped everything I was carrying and ran frantically up the hill. The soldiers standing guard looked at each other perplexed as I hesitantly approached the battered body on the middle cross. It…it was him….the teacher who had saved me from being stoned not long ago. Just above his head was a sign, “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews.”

The teacher…was Jesus—the one they say is the Messiah. Suddenly, what was happening washed over me like a tidal wave. Just like he had taken away my guilt and shame, he was now taking away the guilt and shame of the entire world! He was freeing everyone to “sin no more.”

I fell to my knees and began to sob uncontrollably. “This isn’t right!” I screamed aloud repeatedly as I rocked and moaned—the King taking our place….taking my place….As I again gazed up to him, he had opened his eyes and was looking in my direction. There was still such passion in his demeanor, and for a brief second, I almost thought I saw the glimmer of a smile as he was looking at me. Then, he took one last agonizing breath and said, “It is finished…”

Neighbor

Ridiculous! There’s no way those dirty, filthy outsiders can be considered my neighbor!

I had heard of this Jesus fellow’s teachings, so I wanted to test him to see if he really knew the Law, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

In turn, he asked me what was written in the Law, but I knew the answer to this one! Most people just think it’s hundreds of rules to be holy, but I’ve studied the deeper meaning.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” I recited confidently with pride in my knowledge.

“You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Jesus stated bluntly.

Wait, he just agreed with my conclusion? What is he trying to get at? Is he implying that I’m not loving God or my neighbor? Exactly who does he think I’m not loving that I should be?

“And who is my neighbor?” I retorted. I knew he couldn’t possible expect me to love those horrid Roman invaders or all these other outsiders invading our lands.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho,” he began. Okay, I know that path well. It’s a rather long cliff that circles down south and then back around north to Jericho.

“and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.” he continued. Yep, I knew it, those filthy robbers, I bet they were Samaritans. Those good for nothing outsiders. They need to be driven from our land.

A slight smile creased Jesus’ face as he continued his story. Was he responding to what I was thinking? Did my expression give away my thoughts?

“Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.” he said, still with a slight grin on his face. Well of course the priest couldn’t help—he has a duty to the Temple! He must remain ritually clean so he can perform the constant task of cleansing sin. If he were to touch the bloodied man, he would be doing a great disservice to the rest of Israel by shirking his sin management duties….Wait! How did the priest pass on the “other side?!” There is no “other side” on the path to Jericho! It’s a sheer cliff!

Again, Jesus with the smiling! What’s he thinking?!

“So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.” he continued, still with a slight smile across his face. Yeah, of course the Levite couldn’t help either. He too would become ritually unclean and would not be able to perform his duties to the Temple and the priests….Wait! Again with the “other side” business! Does he not know the path to Jericho, or is he being intentionally facetious?! Maybe I should correct him…

Jesus, though, interrupted my thoughts as he continued, “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was.” What?! Why is he including Samaritan filth in this story?! I guess he’s going to show how cruel the Samaritan is by comparison. The priest and Levite at least had legitimate reasons for not helping. This evil Samaritan will probably torture the poor guy some more just for the fun of it.

Jesus continued on though, again interrupting my derailed thoughts, “and when he saw him, he had compassion.” He glanced in my direction, again with a grin. I could feel my blood begin to boil! How dare he say such a thing! A Samaritan of all people having compassion. He didn’t even mention the priest or Levite having compassion—they just passed right on by, avoiding the victim! As my anger continued to rise, Jesus went on to explain that the Samaritan bound up the victim’s wounds, took him to an inn, paid for his stay, and offered to cover any other expenses!

“Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” Jesus stated now solemn at my disposition.

I was now fuming with disgust and refused to even say the name aloud. “The one who showed mercy.” I sneered, unintentionally displaying the anger that had been building inside me.

Jesus nodded and a huge, beautiful smile erupted across his face. Suddenly my heart melted as all my anger faded away in his loving presence. I felt the tears begin to well up as his warmth gently penetrated through my core.

“You go,” he stated softly in the midst of his loving gaze, “and do likewise.”

Suddenly, it all made sense. I knew the Law, and even the deeper meaning of loving God and neighbor, but I still didn’t quite get it! Not until he showed me—my neighbor is everyone. I’ve always labeled and categorized, only loving those that I was taught I should…while hating everyone else. Yet, the Samaritan was a neighbor whereas the priest and Levite, though they were trying to uphold the laws of cleanliness, failed the spirit of the law—love!

But why would Jesus do that? I was trying to trap him, but instead of revenge, he loved me into an entirely new reality! Anyone else would have destroyed me had they gotten the upper-hand. But he…he loved me instead and showed me how to truly live—how to truly love my neighbor!

It’s true what they’ve all said—it has to be! He really is the Messiah! He really is going to change our world!

Honesty and Truth

I have always loved music. I have always been searching for the music that touches my heart in honesty and love in the deepest way. Music and words that speak truth and human emotions.

That is one reason that I have always related to David of the bible. Particularly, I have always loved the raw honesty in the Book of Psalms.

I came across this article and video today. It is truthful and honest. No religion in it just pure relationship.

I happen to like Bono very much. His spiritual journey has been an inspiration over the years. And Eugene Peterson of The Message translation fame has been a breath of fresh air in bible reading for me.

This video touched my heart. It speaks of thoughts and expressions I have felt for a long time. Please watch it and hear it with openness and not judgement.

I’ll leave you with that……….. my heart is joyful.

Cate B