Water, or stones?

ben-hur

In the movie, “Ben-Hur,” Jesus offers a cup of water to a dying Judah.

Recently, I’ve been following the story of an individual who has existed as a pariah of society for the past decade. While I was never sure what to think myself over the years, I was indeed open to the idea that, perhaps, society was right, and this was at least to degrees a dishonourable man. (And no, I’m not talking about anyone connected to politics!)

Regardless, the abuse poured out upon him at every mention of his name, especially by the masses of people who knew so few of the facts, never seemed right to me. It’s been, and with the help of social media, continues to be a modern-day virtual stoning. And as I have taken time recently to listen to his story from his own lips and those of others connected to his story, it has hit me that this individual has likely been badly maligned.

From where I am standing, I cannot know the complete truth of the matter, and that’s alright. No one needs me as yet another self-appointed judge.

But it has saddened me that for so long, I allowed my opinion of this person to be shaped by the opinions of others.

Never judge anyone by another’s opinions. ~ Jacqueline Susann, author.

As I have considered what life has been like for him over the years, I have been deeply grieved. Someone who knows him and believes in his innocence has said that, regardless, his name is “poison” — because society has acted as judge and would-be executioner, and will hear nothing further on the matter.

Imagine your name being “poison.” Imagine knowing that you would never see your exoneration in your lifetime because no amount of truth would trump the guilty verdict built up in the minds of your fellow men and women.

It breaks my heart. I don’t know what it’s like to feel as this man must.

But I know one who does.

More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus was judged by the masses — masses who did not know him or the truth about him. It was this angry, uninformed mob who called for and won his death.

This week, I watched an episode of a favourite television show that featured an individual falling from grace as his name was intentionally tarnished, mainly by truth, though some of it twisted. He lost everything in one day — his job, his money, his reputation, his friends and his marriage.

I marvelled at how quickly came his fall, and particularly at how immediately his friends and colleagues turned against him as they caught the first whiff of scandal.

What a sad testament it is to humanity that this is the way we behave so often. How often we turn on others in their shame and throw stones. How many people we never befriend because someone’s opinion of them tainted our view of them before they ever had a chance to make themselves known to us. How many people we allow society to define and condemn for us.

Jesus calls for a different way.

Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor. ~ Matthew 7:1-5, The Message translation.

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be part of any mob — not one that pours favour upon someone so long as they perform for us, nor one that seeks to consume those who fall from grace.

We’ve all fallen from grace, and continue to many times in a lifetime.

The amazing news is that thanks to Jesus, we can never fall from grace. Grace falls with us every time. Grace picks us up and tells us again, who we are and who we’ve always been in Christ. We have only to open our hearts and hear those words spoken to us every minute of every day, whatever our circumstances.

We have the opportunity to either block or transmit that same message to those around us — those we know in person and those we never will but are connected to nonetheless. It matters. Our thoughts and our prayers and our good or bad will toward others are real things — energy for good or bad —  and I believe that they are felt by those who feel the world against them. We can either offer water to a soul that feels that it is dying, or, like the mob, we can cast another stone.

In the movie “Ben-Hur,” Jesus is the only one who offers water to a dying Judah, who is then able to survive. Jesus offers water without question or judgement to all of us who lay dying so that we may also survive.

Every day in big and small ways, we can choose to be like him, or like those in the mob who turned on him.

So, brothers and sisters, what will we hold in our hands for those around us? Water, or stones?

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

3 comments so far

  1. Natasha on

    God wants us to choose Him for every day life . Praise God !!🙂

  2. Billy on

    water!

  3. Mark McCulley on

    I think if we are honest, we have all ‘joined the mob’ at one point or another in our lives. I’ve been the victim of the mob more than once. This is a very good insight — thanks for posting!


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