A young man was walking home after a wonderful Sunday evening worship experience at the church. As he silently shared a silent prayer of gratitude to God for the light of the moon and chirps of the crickets, he heard a muffled voice from the crumbled sidewalk running perpendicular to his path. He crossed the familiar "work zone" tape that had blocked the walk for the last few days as crews worked to rebuild the old concrete. Quickly, he realized what had happened. Storms had washed under the sidewalk, eroding dirt below. Over time, more and more dirt washed away until a large hole opened up. This was what the workers were trying to fix.
But now where the sidewalk should be he saw only the hole that the rain had left behind and heard, again, a voice, coming from below.
The voice was weak.
"Hello!" The man replied. "I can hear you. I'll help get you out!"
"Thank God. I've been here for...I don't know how long."
"Well don't worry, I'll call for help. It's just after noon now."
A sigh...a deep breath...a word "so long."
"It's been so long. I was working all night Saturday in the office and into Sunday morning. Things had to get done, you know. 9:00 maybe when I started to walk home. I just wasn't paying attention. Fell right into the hole. My leg is bent...I know it's broken. The blood coming from...I don't know where. I hurt. Everywhere."
"So you've been here for, what, 12 hours? Oh my gosh. That's horrible. You need to get to a doctor!"
"I'm so thirsty...hungry..."
"I bet. Well, I'll get you all taken care of. You just stay there and don't worry. Or...wait. I'm sorry, but I need to ask you another question. Are you a Christian?"
"Yeah. Sure. Isn't everyone?"
"No, not everyone. But I'm asking because it occurred to me that you said you were working all night and into Sunday morning. I mean, I'm busy too. I work hard five days a week and sometimes on Saturdays. But Sunday is the Sabbath."
"Well, it's God's day. You understand you were breaking God's law, don't you?"
"I didn't know it was that important."
"Well, it is. And if you had been going to worship like you should have been instead of working in the office you never would have fallen in this hole to begin with."
"Look, I appreciate your view but can't you just help me out of this hole? You don't even have to do it. Just call someone else who can help."
"I'm sorry, I just can't do that. You didn't just break one law, you broke two. You were working on the Sabbath and because you were doing that you weren't worshiping the Lord. That's why you fell down the hole. I'm sorry, I really am, but when you live in sin there are consequences."
"What? That's not funny."
"Oh, I'm not joking. If I help you I'm just making it worse. I'll be enabling you to continue sinning. Plus then I'll be working on the Sabbath, too."
"You're going to leave me here until tomorrow?"
"I might be able to help then, sure. Hang tight. If you find where you're bleeding make sure to hold something up tight to it so you don't lose as much blood. And elevate that part too. That might help. I'll pray for you, too, that you might have a change in heart. Just remember this all would have been avoided if only you had followed God's law."
"Come back! Please!"
"Don't worry, I will. Tomorrow. Bye for now."
The man walked on. He truly was sorry for the person in the hole, the poor soul who had so misbehaved. He too, was one of the Shepherd's sheep who had gone astray. It was so hard to do the right thing. And yet every person has their struggles. Every person must learn to obey...
You have heard it said that homosexuality is a violation of God's law. You have heard it said that someone who is gay must change their ways. I ask you: How many lives must we lose to suicide before we choose to pick a person up out of the hole instead? How many people must run from the Church that condemns before we will be open to the fruit that comes with acceptance? How many times must we run to "But the law says..." before we run to the Gospel of Grace that says "You are welcome to the table."
- Matthew 12:9-14