A Professor of Philosophy, at a small town Midwest community college; put forth the following assignment to his students just prior to their start of Spring break. "Class, in 1500 words or less, please answer the following question: "What is the worst thing that can happen to a person? "
He went on to say, " Please defend your position with credible examples,and a reasonable defense to support your thesis." The students, were expected to have the assignment finished, and on the professor's desk upon their return from Spring break.
After returning from Spring break, the professor began the lengthy and arduous task of reading and grading the student's papers. The professor was amused, astonished, and in a few cases aghast at the horrible and unspeakable stories presented by his students. As one might expect, he read of ghastly accounts of torture(being skinned alive, electrocuted and beaten to death, raped(every possible scenario), and other loathsome descriptions of various human suffering that each student felt was in their minds: The "worst" possible thing that could happen to a person.
Having to watch your family murdered right before your very eyes, being forced to destroy a whole bus full of people by blowing it up, and one student's gory depiction of being eaten alive by insects , with only your head being exposed above the hot desert sand... On and on, the professor read with disgust and ever growing disdain, the detailed and gruesome stories of "worst case" scenarios. The professor was looking forward to the end of this assignment, it was turning out to be a very unpleasant task... and thankfully, he was almost finished . He only had three papers left to review.
The professor waded through the first two papers, and breathed a deep sigh of relief as he eyed the last paper he would have to read... he winced as he noticed the name at the top of the paper; Mary Harding, the one student the professor truly disliked. Mary was a devout, uncompromising Christian, who openly challenged the professor, whenever he began to promote his "atheistic" and "humanistic" beliefs in the classroom. What really irked the professor, is that Mary was a true intellectual, and was more than a match for his intimidating assaults on religion, but especially - Christianity. On more than one occasion, he had been embarrassed by Mary's forceful display of history, religion, and philosophy; he had to admit - Mary was probably the smartest student he had ever seen... this only made him disdain her all the more.
To say the professor was curious as to how Mary would answer this question, would be a gross understatement - he hesitated for a brief time, and then quickly turned the cover page to read the following ...
There in the middle of the page were these words in large bold type:
“TO DIE IN YOUR SINS”
The professor was flooded with a sea of emotions... anger, amazement, bewilderment - how dare Mary make such a radical assertion! Of all the answers the professor had read, he was not prepared for this. Cursing aloud, and jumping to his feet, the professor tossed Mary's paper into the air, and screamed, "Mary - this time you've crossed the line!!!"
The professor refused to read Mary's paper any further, his seething anger now a boiling rage; he sat at his desk and just stared at the wall mumbling: "How dare she... how dare she... how dare she..."
As is the case with human curiosity, it got the best of the professor, and within days he decided he would quickly skim through Mary's paper - if for no other reason than to ridicule and discredit her "religious fanaticism" - make no mistake, this is one paper that the professor intended to fill with red ink . Mary's paper would receive the full wrath of the professor, and she would pay for her obvious desire to once again push her religious dogma on the world - her fate was all but certain.
Turning his attention once again to Mary's paper, the professor was surprised to find that there wert only a few paragraphs for him to read... and much to his displeasure - they weren't even Mary's words, they were "scriptures" from the bible. There below the bold type: TO DIE IN ONE'S SINS, were three passages that the professor slowly began to read aloud:
JOHN 8:23-24/Jesus speaking - And He said to them, " You are from beneath; I am from above, You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. " (NKJ)
JOHN 3:13-18/Jesus speaking - No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
REV 20:11-14/John the Apostle speaking - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades deliver- ed up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Then the professor lowered his eyes slowly and began to read Mary's closing statement: "It is clearly evident from the words of Jesus Christ, and other Bible passages, that the worst thing that can happen to a person is - to die in their sins! " Any person who rejects God's free gift of eternal life, offered to all who will put their trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior - is doomed to an eternity in Hell - banished forever from the presence of God. And while it is true, there are a myriad of various torments and suffering that human beings can experience while here on earth... they simply cannot compare with the unspeakable horrors and anguish that await those who reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and choose rather to die in their sins. Really, what could be worse than that?
The professor was speechless, numb, and just sat at his desk staring down at Mary's paper - stone faced - showing no emotion... The professor disagreed with every facet of Mary's thesis, but was left with no other choice than to do what his conscience was telling him he must do. With great reluctance, the professor slowly reached for his black pen, paused for what seemed like an eternity - and put an A in the upper right hand corner of Mary's paper. This was one paper that he would never forget.
This short story, is just one of many stories God allowed me to share with readers in my first book, PEARLS of WISDOM. I hope you enjoyed the small pearl of wisdom contained in this amusing, yet inspiring story.
You may read more of these stories, and other things God gave me to write about by simply going to Amazon.com. The book is available in paperback or in a Kindle format...
Just type in: Pearls of Wisdom/Michael D'Aigle
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I love God, people, and all of God's creation. For me there is always something or someone to write about...