Posted by: raisingmustardseeds | August 6, 2007

Taken down a notch

Justice for All

You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice.  You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute…..

…..You shall not pervert the judgment of your poor in his dispute. Keep yourself far from a false matter; do not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked….    

~ Exodus 23: 1-8

This is an excerpt from our reading in this morning’s family devotions.  As there were several “big” words in this passage that the girls did not understand, I tried to provide a more “practical” illustration as follows:

“There was once a beggar on the street – he was dressed in torn and dirty clothes, he was filthy from head to toe, he hadn’t showered in weeks, perhaps months, and he smelt terrible.  One day, he ran out of a bakery, chased by the storekeeper – who shouted to passerbys, “Stop that man!  He’s stolen my bread!” 

The beggar was apprehended by a few men and brought back to the store.  The storekeeper pointed to the beggar and repeated, “This man stole bread from my store!”  The beggar replied, “No sir, really I didn’t.  I was merely in your store to take in the wonderful smells of your baking.  I did not steal any bread from you.” 

The storekeeper continued to persist in his claims and to insist that the beggar be stripped of his clothes to reveal the bread.  By this time, a crowd had formed around the commotion….

At this point of the illustration (yes, I know, my husband tells me my illustrations tend to be long 🙂 ), I asked the children what they would have done, if they were in that crowd.  Big Mac agreed that the beggar had stolen the bread, Megalos didn’t think he did.  We discussed the reasons for their answers…the beggar’s appearance, he was hungry, so he probably did steal it, etc…

I suggested to them that a wise person would probably ask a few questions to try to solve this. So the story continued like this:

A wise man came forward and asked the storekeeper, “Mr. Storekeeper, did you SEE this man steal the bread?”  To which, the storekeeper replied, “Ahh, well…no, I didn’t actually see him take the bread.  But, but I was sure I counted 5 loaves of bread, and right after this man came in, I looked again, and there were only 4 left.”

The wise man continued, “Mr. Storekeeper, were there other people in the store at the time, or was this man the only one in your store?”  The storekeeper looked a little flustered and answered, “Well, ah, well it’s Saturday morning, it’s always crowded on Saturday morning, and well, I KNOW this man took it.”

Meanwhile, a little boy had pushed his way into the centre of the crowd and was tugging at the wise man’s sleeve.  He looked up sheepishly at the wise man and spoke in a soft voice, “Sir, I’m sorry, but I’m the one that stole the bread. That man is telling the truth – he didn’t take anything.  It was me.”

So what’s the point of this entire post?  Well, I’m sorry to say that a mere 2 hours later, our family experienced a real-life example of this illustration:

We were having lunch and we use meal-times as an opportunity to memorize/recite our verses.  The verses are written on a blackboard in our eat-in area and Big Mac was reciting her verses (by memory), under my watchful eye.  After she finished, her sister piped up and accused her of peeking at the board.  I jabbed the older sister and reprimanded her, saying that I was watching Big Mac and she did no such thing.  and on and on I went, scolding Megalos. 

Even after dad suggested that maybe Big Mac may have taken a peek, I sprung to her defence, saying that I had my eye on her the entire time.  Megalos then proceed to apologize to her little sister and Big Mac extended forgiveness. 

For some reason, I was prompted then to ask Big Mac if she recited her verses without looking at the board.  My heart sank when she hesitatingly replied with a “Well, I kinda looked when I got to the pink section.” GROAN, DOUBLE GROAN, (with the smilie that smacks its head)

I’d become the storekeeper, my oldest the beggar, and my younger the little boy.

I had to apologize and ask for forgiveness from my daughter.  It’s a lesson that we won’t soon forget, I’ll tell you that much.  God was working on me that day, that’s for sure. 



  1. Wow, thanks for sharing!

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