In his book, The Preaching Event, John Claypool tells a poignant story about identical twin brothers who never married because they enjoyed each other’s company so much. When their father died, they took over his store and ran it together in a joyful collaboration.
But one day a man came in to make a small purchase and paid for it with a dollar. The brother who made the sale placed the dollar on top of the cash register...and walked the customer to the door to say goodbye. When he returned, the dollar bill was gone.
He said to his twin brother, "Did you take the dollar bill I left here?"
"No, I didn’t," answered the brother.
"Surely, you took it," he said, "There was nobody else in the store."
The brother became angry: "I’m telling you, I did not take the dollar bill."
From that point, mistrust and suspicion grew until finally the two brothers could not work together. They put a partition right down the middle of the building and made it into two stores. In anger, they refused to speak for the next 20 years.
One day a stranger pulled up in a car and entered one of the two stores. "Have you been in business very long here?" the stranger asked.
"Yes, 30 or 40 years," was the answer.
"Good," continued the stranger, "I very much need to tell you something... Some 20 years ago, I passed through this town. I was out of work and homeless. I jumped off a boxcar. I had no money and I had not eaten for days. I came down that alley outside and when I looked into your store window, I saw a dollar bill on the cash register. I slipped in and took it. Recently I became a Christian. I was converted and accepted Christ as my personal Savior. I know now it was wrong of me to steal that dollar bill...and I have come to pay you back with interest and to beg your forgiveness."
When the stranger finished his confession, the old storekeeper began to weep as he said, "Would you do me a favor? Would you please come next door and tell that story to my brother?" Of course, with the second telling, the two brothers were reconciled with many hugs and apologies and tears.
Twenty years of hurt and broken relationship based not on fact, but on mistrust and misunderstanding. But then healing came; reconciliation came, because of that stranger’s love for Christ.
(From a sermon by Otis McMillan, "Experiencing the Joy of Forgiveness" 1/13/2009)
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Brian Mavis on Oct 30, 2000
Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of John Hopkins in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to outpatients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. ...read more
Contributed by Ernest Canell on Jan 2, 2001
Dr Karl Menninger, the famed psychiatrist, once said that if he "could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, ...read more
Contributed by Owen Bourgaize on Oct 18, 2000
There’s a story told of a husband and wife both of who were doctors - one a doctor of theology and the other a doctor of medicine. When their doorbell was rung and the maid answered, the inquirer would often ask for "the doctor". The maid’s ...read more
Contributed by Rich Young on Jan 17, 2001
Willie Nelson apparently at one time owned a golf course. He said the great thing about owning a golf course was that he could decide what par for each hole was. He pointed at one hole and said, “See that ...read more
Contributed by Tony Miano on Jan 20, 2001
“In January, 1995, according to an article written by Gary Thomas, J. Robert Ashcroft had fewer than forty-eight hours to live, but he was holding on to life, hoping to see his son, John Ashcroft, sworn into the U.S. Senate the following day. [John Ashcroft, as we all know by now, is in the ...read more
Contributed by Paul Fritz on Oct 18, 2000
How to let the Spirit work in and through you both to will and to do of His good pleasure