By Ian Cotton, retired pastor
Sally relates an experience she had in a seminary class taught by a teacher who was known for his elaborate object lessons. One day, Sally walked into the class room and knew they were in for a fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts.
The lecturer asked the students to draw a picture of someone they disliked or someone who had made them angry in the past. Then he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture.
Sally’s friend drew a picture of a girl who had wrongly called her a liar and stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother who continually annoyed him. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased with her drawing for it seemed so life like!
The class lined up and began throwing darts. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart. Sally looked forward to her turn, but was disappointed when, because of time limits, the students had to return to their seats.
As Sally sat down, thinking about how angry she was because she didn’t have a chance to throw any darts at her target, the lecturer began removing the target from the wall. Behind the target was a picture of Jesus.
A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced.
The professor said only these words, “I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me” (Matthew 25:40). Kindness and respect to all is an absolute for all to practice. By contrast, the one who makes accusations is of Satan.
No other words were necessary… the tear-filled eyes of each student focused only on the picture of Christ.
In these days of COVID we all need to be aware of how we treat others and how we talk to them, whether in the church or in the community, for Matthew 12:37 “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” And “James 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”