It happened yesterday! It can happen today! And most likely, it will happen tomorrow; but not if I can help it!
There was a man. When he was a boy, he was hunted like a criminal by day and by night. At night he hid in concrete air raid shelters from bombs dropped by planes high above the city. During the day, he hid with his mother from the hound dogs of the Gestapo - The German Secret Police. Many others like him were relentlessly hunted; and many were found and destroyed. But eventually the war was over, and he no longer needed to hide his Jewish roots. This boy had the unusual mixture of Jewish roots, a Catholic heart, and Lutheran traditions. Today his life challenges all of us to look at the blood that still clings to our own hands, before we point a finger at our neighbor.
Sometime during his teens, his mother returned to her native America and took her son along. There he grew up and became a man. He studied and got good grades. He worked hard and obeyed those in authority. Life was not easy in America; but at least, he never had to run and hide. He became a soldier in the same army that had dropped bombs on his head. He became a part of the melting pot called “America.” After awhile, he graduated from an “Ivy League” college, took a job, married, and became the father of two fine sons.
Eventually, he forgot about his roots. His Catholic heart grew cold, and his Lutheran traditions became a thing of the past. One day, one of his co-workers spoke out his prejudices. “We have a fine department,” he said. “We don’t have a single Jew in it.” That opened an old wound in the boy who had by now become a man. He was startled, and realized that America is a land of the “free;” but that America’s freedom allowed good and evil to flourish side by side.
Eventually, the God-given part of his tender nature was suffocated by pride, peer pressure, and his own selfish ambitions. He began to develop his own set of prejudices. He believed that those leaning on God for support were using a crutch, that those on welfare and the divorced were second-class citizens and failures. He became a driven man. He was driven by his own insecurities, selfish ambitions, and an inordinate need for applause. Pride became his stumbling block. One day he told a friend, “I would rather be known as a fool than not be known at all.” Without realizing it, he had pronounced his own death sentence. He was to become a fool for Christ before long.
A few weeks later, this man met Jesus on the “Road to Damascus.” At the zenith of his career, he tumbled from his high horse. God did not duplicate the vision He gave to the apostle Paul. He had one tailor-made for this man! His vision was so convincing, and so convicting, that he threw his old life overboard. All his treasures became like so much trash; and he cried out to God for mercy!
His new life began in a mental hospital. Doctors and therapists attempted to glue the “old man” back together; but to no avail. The success-driven man was shattered into a million pieces. It was impossible to find all the pieces; and doctors had no idea what the “new man” was supposed to look like. Their definition of normal, sane, and healthy was a thousand light years removed from God’s definition of normal, sane, and healthy. In the end, God’s plan for this man prevailed.
He left the hospital stigmatized by the most damning labels. Divorce soon shattered what was left of his old life, and eventually he was humbled further by having to rely on public and private assistance - the very thing he had maligned earlier. Even the Church did not provide a sanctuary at this point of devastation. It agreed with psychiatrists and psychologists that “speaking in tongues” was gibberish, and a clear sign of mental illness. One night when no one could hear his screaming heart, he was taken away because he had “prayed in tongues.” When he refused to submit to further therapy and medication, it was determined that his case was hopeless. His records state that his religious zeal was a phobia. These were the exact words of the psychologist, “Everything should be done to encourage him to remain phobically centered on his Christian endeavors.” No, he did not have to wear the Star of David on his lapel as the Jews were required to do during the Hitler regime, but the label of “insane” was equally damning.
It was not only the tangible world that surrounded him that challenged his sanity. The world within him was equally brutal. There were many moments he walked at the edge of an abyss. Only the loving hand of a merciful God restrained his actions at those precarious times. Heaven and hell became two very real places for this man. But, through it all, he was cleansed of pride and prejudice; and filled with great compassion for the brokenhearted, the misfits, and the outcasts of our society.
On his “Road to Damascus” experience, Jesus established a real and permanent beachhead in this man’s soul. After many battles and many years, the victorious Christ in him subdued and conquered the many counterfeit voices (thoughts) and delusions of grandeur. The man became a delivery boy, while Christ became the “Deliverer.” With Christ in him, the hope of Glory, he became a new person - and a whole person. Today he is a thousand light years away from the man he used to be.
I, Peter, am that man. My story is not unique. However, my voice is one of the few that has survived the holocaust and subsequent attempts to destroy my newly emerging reality. I raise my voice in indignation! We still stone the prophets, but we use different methods to do so. We kill them with bombs, we incinerate them in gas chambers, we destroy them with labels and drugs, and we crowd their minds with our own interpretation of sanity in this insane and inhumane world.
We make laws that lack wisdom and heart. We establish courts that are ruled by the egos and purses of men. We build churches that resemble entertainment centers instead of sanctuaries. We follow church leaders that are ruled by their egos, insecurities, and traditions rather than the wisdom and the Word of God. That newborn infant in Christ, like myself and many others, has a very hard time surviving under such hostile conditions. We bow down to our law makers and judges as if they were gods. We bow down to our professionals as if they were gods. We bow down to our church leaders as if they were gods. We bow down to our entertainment idols and sports heroes as if they were gods. We thereby give one another power and honor that belongs to God alone. And how often does the next generation tear down the idols and laws of the previous generation? Man’s definition of right and wrong seems to be as unstable as the weather!
We look for answers in all the wrong places because we fail to acknowledge that the problem might be us - all of us. We can only change the world for the better if we start with “us.” Pointing our finger at others never helps. Every individual alive has the capacity within his or her heart to abuse and kill his neighbor. Selfishness, pride and murder are like dormant cancers in every human heart. They are like bad genes all of us have inherited. Jesus has offered us the answer; and after 2000 years, He is still offering us the same answer. But if we do not accept His love and wisdom, we will continue to kill and abuse ourselves and one another.
I ask all of you now who are trying to impose your definition of normal, of healthy, of sane onto others, please step back for a moment. Is your reality, your understanding, your life so holy, so complete, and so perfect that you want it to rub off on others? Are you providing light, or are you providing darkness by who your are; or is your life like a gray mist? If Christ - the Hope of Glory - is not in us, we are like a dark shadow moving across the land. To be a light, we must first recognize and confess our own darkness. Then, and only then, can we be filled with the Light which is Jesus. He is the only one who can erase our shadows.
When I reflect on what He has done in my life, I can only marvel and be filled with gratitude. The before and after is dramatic. He has changed me. The world may not agree, but I will let you decide by what you have read, and by what your heart tells you.
I, Peter, have exposed my human frailties, my pain, and my shadows to you for only one reason. I herewith petition heaven, and I petition you who lay down our laws, who interpret them, who interpret the Word, and who define the words “normal” and “sane,” to please use greater wisdom, love, and mercy in your chosen profession as servants of the people! I speak not only for myself, but also for those whose voices have been silenced. Their blood is still clinging to our hands, all of our hands. We have all destroyed many with our ignorance, our prejudice, and our own selfish ambitions.
“Lord, may these words put a stop to the hideous ways we treat one another. Lord, put a hammer to the kingdom of darkness and the kingdoms of this world. Lord, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Lord, let these words march across the land like a might army!”
Serving Jesus as Stretcher Bearer, Peter D. Laue
The following dialogue has been excerpted from the movie “The Ten Commandments” directed by Cecil B. De Mille. The theme of this movie, based on the book of Exodus, is whether man ought to be ruled by God’s law, or whether they ought to be ruled by the whims of a dictator like Rameses (Hitler, etc.). Are men the property of the state or are they free souls unto God? This same battle continues throughout the world today.
And God said, “Let there be Light.” And there was Light. And from this Light God created life upon earth. And man was given dominion over all things upon this earth, and the power to choose between good and evil. But each sought to do his own will; because they knew not the Light of God’s law. Man took dominion over man. The conquered were made to serve the conqueror. The weak were made to serve the strong; and freedom was gone from the world. So did the Egyptians cause the children of Israel to serve with rigor; and their lives were made bitter with hard bondage. And their cry came up to God. And God heard them and cast into Egypt, into the lowly hut of Amram and Yochabel the seed of a man, upon whose mind and heart would be written God’s law and God’s commandments. One man to stand alone against an empire.
Divine One, last night our astrologers saw an evil star enter the house of Egypt.|
From the frontiers of Sinai and Libya to the cataracts of the Nile, what nation would dare draw the sword against us?|
The enemy to fear is in the heart of Egypt.|
||I number my enemies by their swords, not by their chains, high priest.|
||Chains have been forged into swords before now, Divine One. Amongst these slaves there is a prophecy of a deliverer who will lead them out of bondage. A star proclaims his birth.|
||Then let the Hebrews die.|
||Slaves are wealth, commander. The more slaves we have, the more bricks we make.|
|| I would still see fewer bricks made and fewer Hebrews in Goshen. It’s our eastern gate.|
||Since this deliverer is amongst their newborn, only their newborn need die.|
||Every newborn Hebrew man-child shall die.|
||So let it be written; so let it be done.|
||So speaks Rameses the First.|
Today, in our “enlightened” 21st century, we are still making bricks for hard taskmasters!
“Lord, we ask You to raise up ten thousand Deliverers like unto Moses to set the captives free.”