Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Acts 16:37 By: Jim Larson

But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out." Acts 16:37

 The apostle Paul, unjustly arrested and abused, strongly objected, demanded redress, and so received justice. 

 Most of us at some time in our lives have experienced what Paul did. Hopefully not to the degree that Paul suffered. A teacher's accusation of cheating, an unwarranted traffic stop are but two examples of injustices that may have happened to you. And like Paul, I am sure you protested loudly and demanded justice. 

 Be, let me ask you a question. What if you were witness to the unjust treatment of someone else? If so, did you speak up, protesting loudly and demanding justice? 

 Rural Steele County Minnesota, School District 28, maybe ten or twelve students, year 1945, Mildred Hankerson teacher, that sets the stage. Perhaps Mrs. Hankerson should not have been a teacher. She was quick to anger, lacked empathy, and was very impatient with "slow" learners. 

 La Von Ripka was a "slow" learner. Not that she was stupid, she just needed more time to make a concept clear. Mrs. Hankerson picked on La Van a lot, not in private, but out loud in front of all the kids. 

 One day, after Mrs. Hankerson's tongue had reduced La Von to tears, one of the kids stood up and protested loudly. Interspersed with expletives, he demanded that Mrs. Hankerson back off, stop picking on La Von, treat people fairly, and so on. All this delivered in as loud a voice as a sixth grade boy could muster. 

 Retribution was swift. Abuse was piled on the blasphemer. I remember things; like Reform School, be expelled, and many other dire threats. I remember the villain's younger brother going home from school crying because Jim was going to reform school and he would have to do Jim's chores. 

 Well, reform school didn't happen, neither did the expelling. Mrs. Hankerson didn't change. She still picked on kids. But, she didn't come back the next year. 

 What do you think the Apostle Paul would think about this story?