Friday, March 31, 2006
Romans 2 - The Guilt of the Hypocrite...
The Legend of the Indonesian Farmer
An Indonesian farmer was returning to his village when he suddenly stopped on the jungle trail and stared ahead with growing alarm. Lying across his path he could see a tiger’s tail and, looking carefully, he could see that the tail belonged to a very large and very fierce tiger. This tiger was waiting for him. Acting on impulse the farmer put down his scythe, ran forward and seized the tiger by the tail. With an angry snarl the tiger tried to free his tail, but the more he roared and plunged, the harder the farmer held on.
The struggle went on for a while, and then, just as the farmer felt he could hang on no longer, who should come along the path but an Indonesian holy man. The holy man stopped, surveyed the scene with interest and was about to pass on when the farmer called to him.
”Dear holy man,” he cried, ”please take my scythe and ki8ll this tiger. I can’t hold on to it much long.”
The holy man sighed. ”My friend,” he replied, ”that I cannot do. I am forbidden by the rites of my religion to kill any living thing.”
The farmer renewed his failing grip. “But holy man,” he said, “don’t you see that if you fail to kill this tiger then it will kill me. Surely the life of a man is of more value than the life of a beast!”
The holy man folded his arms in the depths of his flowing robe. “About that,” he said, “I cannot speak. All around me in the jungle I see things killing and being killed. I am not responsible for these things, neither can I help them. But for me to kill…as, this I cannot do.”
Just then the tiger gave a vicious snarl and a furious pull on its tail. Sweat poured from the farmer. The holy man prepared to leave. “Dear holy man, “sobbed the farmer in despair, “doesn’t go! If it is against the rules of your faith to kill this beast, at least come and hold it’s tail while I kill him.”
The holy man paused and considered. “I suppose I could do that,” he conceded at last. “There can be no harm in holding the animal’s tail.” Cautiously he approached the infuriated beast and joined the farmer in holding on to the tail. “Do you have him, holy man?” panted the farmer. “Do you have him fast?”
“Yes, yes,” said the holy man, “but hurry up before he gets loose.” Leisurely the farmer brushed off his clothes. Slowly he picked up his hat and put it on. With great deliberation he picked up his scythe. Then bowing to the holy man the farmer prepared to leave.
“Here, where are you going?” demanded the suddenly alarmed holy man. “I thought you were going to kill this tiger.”
The farmer paused, folded his arms in the sleeve of his coast and sighed. “Dear holy man,” he replied, “you are a most excellent teacher. You have completely converted me to your most noble religion. I can see now how wrong I have been all these years. I cannot kill this tiger, for it is against the rules of our holy religion. As you have taught me, all around us in the jungle we see things killing and being killed. We are not responsible for these things, but for us holy men to kill, as you say, this cannot be. I am now going into the village yonder, so you will just have to hang on to his tiger until some coarser soul comes along not so motivated by the high ideals o our holy faith. Perhaps you will be able to convert him too, as you have converted me.” And with this parting shot, the farmer left!