I was on my journey toward the Catholic Church, toward becoming a Christian, but I wanted to understand what was going to happen with all of my sin. One day I heard this story by a speaker. The man telling the story said that it was a true story.
In the 1700s, there was a great Indian tribe and they were blessed in every regard. They had running water. The Chief was a strong leader. When he spoke, his word became the law, and his law was his word. Everything was going fine, and the tribe’s people were thriving and doing well. They had never had any problems. Their enemies did not bother them because they were strong with a strong leader.
Suddenly, there was a problem among the tribe’s people; someone was stealing. That had never happened to them before. The Chief, who was a great man, spoke. Whenever he spoke, his word became the law. He said, “When we find that man, we will give him fifty lashes at the hand of the taskmaster.” But a strange thing happened; the stealing continued.
Then the Chief again spoke the word that became law, “When we find the thief, we will give him one-hundred lashes at the hand of the taskmaster.” One-hundred lashes would kill most men!
One day, they found the thief. The thief turned out to be the mother of the Chief. A great hush fell over the people.
Then the tribe’s people said, “Is he going to satisfy his law …” because when he spoke, his word became the law. “Will he satisfy his law, or will he satisfy his love?”
He loved his mother very much. When the day for the punishment came, they brought the mother of the Chief into the middle of the compound. She was a frail, small woman. They ripped her clothes from her, exposing her back. Then they bound her hand-and-foot in the middle of the compound.
Again, a hush came over the tribe’s people. Everyone wondered if he would satisfy his law at the expense of his love.
The Chief raised his hand and the taskmaster came forth with a huge whip in his hand and with bulging muscles, certain to kill the mother of the Chief. The Chief raised his hand and said, “Let the punishment begin.” The people could not believe it; the Chief was going to satisfy his law at the expense of his love.
The taskmaster drew back to deliver the first blow, and then the Chief raised his hand again.
Everybody gasped and said, “Oh, he’s going to satisfy his love at the expense of his law.”
Then the Chief took off his robe and headdress, and handed them to the attendant, exposing his own strong back. He went over to where his mother was bound hand-and-foot in the middle of the compound. He stretched out his arms and he covered his mother with his own body and said, “Let the punishment continue.” In that way, he satisfied his law, and his love.
The teller of the story went on to explain that Jesus Christ has covered our sins because the Scripture says in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death.” (NABRE)
I knew that I had been a sinner. But Jesus has covered me with His Body and His own Blood.
In my heart I knew He was saying, “Father, see my body; see my bloodshed at Calvary for Larry. Don’t count his sin against him.” Isaiah 53:5 became clear to me:
“But he was pierced for our sins,
crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole,
by his wounds we were healed.”
After that, more of the Scriptures that I read began to make sense. Psalms 103:12 spoke to me, Larry, directly, “I’ve separated your sin as far as the east is from the west, and I remember it no more.” All of these things were beginning to become clearer to me and they began to help me understand what being a child of God meant. That story about God’s love and His law had a great influence on my life; it was the beginning of building faith upon faith.
“…from afar the LORD appears:
With age-old love I have loved you;
so I have kept my mercy toward you.”
—Jeremiah 31:3, NABRE
When we see others getting something good, sometimes it can be hard to be happy for them and not upset for ourselves. Sometimes we just cannot understand why certain things seem to happen to us versus someone else or no one at all. Why do bad things happen? Many times, we choose to blame God—perhaps we feel safe blaming God because in the back of our minds, we know that God will still love us. But even when bad things do happen, God can bring great things from the bad. He can redeem any situation.
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.”
—Romans 8:28, NABRE
*This post is an excerpt taken from Amazing Grace Overcoming Race By Deacon Larry Oney ©2012 All Rights Reserved.
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