Bernie The Prisoner

Bernie stared at the floor, afraid to glance at the clock again. Time was dragging on. Two more minutes. Two more long, agonizing minutes until freedom.

His fellow captives had spoken of nothing but this day for the last month or so. Was it a rumor, were they really going to release us? Some believed; others were not so sure. There had been broken promises before, the food would improve, exercise time would expand. Just more broken promises.

It’s time! As the clock slowly moved into the appointed hour, the guard said, “Let’s do this in an orderly fashion, people. Stand up slowly, and march single file through the door and out into the courtyard.”

The captives did as instructed. Bernie led the way, and as the outside doors swung open a ray of sunlight attacked his eyes, and he momentarily shrank back. Then Bernie’s desire for freedom engulfed him, and he ran out into the courtyard. Free at last!

Bernie ran for what seemed like an eternity. All those months of captivity, being held against his will. All of that wasted time, spent in cramped cells, listening to his captors drone on. Now he was free. The sun never felt so good, the air never seemed so fragrant.

Then he stopped.

“They’ll come back for me” he thought. They’d told him so. They’ll come and get me, and the questions will be even tougher. The time of indoctrination will be even more intense. Oh yes, they will take me back. Haven’t they already stuffed enough into my brain?

No doubt about it, second grade was going to be even tougher than first. The teachers were actually going to expect Bernie to read! Where is their humanity?

Didn’t you feel like that when you were a kid? Like school was some kind of gulag where you were sent to be reprogrammed? Do we really need algebra in our daily lives? Mr. Briggs at Central Union High School gave me the only “D” grade I ever received. It was in geometry. Yecch. I finally told him one day, “Mr. Briggs, I don’t care what “X” equals.” That was my problem, that stinkin’ “X”.

I couldn’t wait to get out. I thought that when I was free of school I could quit learning and finally live.

My education had just begun.

Since leaving school I have learned a great many things. Life does that to you. You learn good things and bad things, things that will help you and things that will not. We call it wisdom. There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge.

When I graduated from school I had knowledge. I could tell you all about the Civil War, photosynthesis, poetry and grammar.

Now I can tell you about how to apply those things. That’s the difference. Wisdom is knowledge rightly applied.

Many of us know what is right, but choose to do otherwise. That may be knowledge, but it sure isn’t wisdom. People tell me that God is okay with their sin, that somehow, God is going to break the rules just for them. This is deception at its worst.

Instead of trusting Christ, many today insist on using human wisdom alone for answers to eternal questions. Karl Vallentin, a Munich comedian illustrates this. Walking on a stage where everything was dark except for a small area under a street lamp, he began to look for something on the ground. He told the policeman who came on the scene that he was trying to find a key, whereupon the two continued the search. Finally the officer asked, “Are you sure you lost it here?” “Oh, no,” said Vallentin as he pointed to a corner, “It was over there, but here is where the light is!”

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21 NIV)

We all need wisdom, but we had better get it from the right source. God’s wisdom isn’t always popular or easy, but it is always right.

Still not good at math… Jerry

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