A young lady named Sally relates an experience she had in a seminary class given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons. One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture. Sally’s girlfriend drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend at the person’s picture. Sally’s girlfriend drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. She was pleased with the overall effect she had achieved. 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, and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of the time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn’t have a chance to throw any darts at her target, Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus. A 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. Dr. Smith quoted this scripture…
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40
No other words were necessary; the tear-filled eyes of the students focused only on the picture of Christ.
Revenge. Anger. Bitterness. Unforgiveness. Hatred.
We all think these emotions can be controlled…directed toward someone who has done us wrong. Today’s scripture reminds us that as we treat others… we are treating the One who started our heart beating.
When we serve the needy… we are serving Christ.
When we are hurting someone with our words, actions, or thoughts… we are hurting the heart of Christ.
He wants what’s best for us… and His Word tells us time and time again to love Him first and then love everyone else. Today we will have a chain of decisions to make. Each one, an opportunity to do the right thing (even when it’s hard). Which will we choose? Both reflect what we’re feeling on the inside.
I pray that each of us would choose to not give others who have hurt us what we think they deserve… but, instead, extend to them the same grace we ourselves receive from Christ each day.
Choose to forgive.
Choose to leave the past where it belongs.
Choose to make the first move toward reconciliation.
Choose to serve.
Choose to love like Christ.
It’s easier to get even… it’s maturity when we can control those emotions and give our challenges to God.
Remember, as we treat others, we are treating Jesus.
Will we throw a dart?
Or will we offer a fresh start?