Once You've Heard Their Story

He will not judge by what his eyes see or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with justice he will give his verdict on the needy, and will make fair decisions for the meek of the earth. 

Isaiah 11:3-4       

In 1873, Karl Asmis, a young German forester was deputized by the local postmaster to deliver an important letter. The envelope contained a large sum of money.  

The letter was never delivered. Karl reported that, while walking through the woods to deliver the letter, he shot a rabbit. He figured the easiest way to carry both would be to tie the envelope around the rabbit's neck and sling the rabbit over his shoulder.  

But, Karl claimed, the rabbit wasn't dead; only stunned. It squirmed out of his grasp and hopped into the forest with the envelope around its neck.  

An imaginative story, but no one was buying it. Karl was shunned by everyone in town.  


Sometimes people say things that betray their lack of believability or dimwittedness.  

Joe Theismann was a two time Pro Bowl quarterback for the Washington Redskins. He led his team to a Super Bowl victory, and then his career was abruptly ended when Giants linebacker, Lawrence Taylor's tackle shattered Theismann's lower leg.  

Theismann became a sportscaster and his most well-known utterance did nothing to disabuse us of the "dumb jock" stereotype. When another reporter asked Theismann whether he considered his former coach, Joe Gibbs, to be a genius, Theismann said he didn't think the word "genius" was appropriate. "A genius," Theismann said, "is a guy like Norman Einstein."  


I scorn liars and snicker at others who say dumb things. And I'm pretty good at finding fault with other people. 

But I've noticed that, once I get to know someone personally, my attitude changes. Andrew Stanton tells the story about the former television host, Mr. Rogers. Stanton says Mr. Rogers always carried a quote in his wallet that said: "Frankly, there isn't anyone you couldn't learn to love, once you've heard their story."  


Isaiah 11 is a prophecy that, when the Messiah comes, he won't be predisposed to judge us. He will come to hear our story and bring reconciliation rather than condemnation. 


Back to Joe Theismann. When Joe went to South River High School in New Jersey, he would occasionally play basketball and touch football with a kid down the block. This high school classmate was brilliant. He was the class valedictorian and is now a physician.  

His name was Norman Einstein.  

As for Theismann, he was an All-American quarterback in college. But he was also an academic All-American. Joe Theismann isn't a dumb jock; he's a bright guy.  


And before we leave Karl Asmis eternally covered in shame, Doug Storer, in his book Amazing But True Facts, says that a few years after the money disappeared, some boys reported finding a hawk's nest. In it were remnants of a rabbit's skeleton. And the inside of the nest was lined with money. 

 (text copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre)