When I was five or six
years old, there was a bank robbery in the town where we lived. I was
too young to remember it, but Iíve heard my father tell about it - and
how it directly affected him. The bank tellers gave an accurate
description of a man, including a description of the plaid shirt he was
wearing. Within minutes, the police found my father in a store about a
block away. He was wearing the same shirt and matched the description of
the man who had been involved in the robbery. But when they took him
away, he had no idea why he was being arrested.
In those circumstances, protesting innocence doesnít help. Certainly
he was guilty of something! I mean, like my father, I sometimes find
myself exceeding the speed limit. Like my father, I sometimes find
myself jay walking. Like my father - and many of you - I find myself
pressing the limits of parking meters on occasion.
No one is totally innocent. We may be Ďlaw-abiding citizens,í but
there are some laws we have broken at some point in time. Until he knew
what he was suspected of doing, he couldnít plead innocence. All he
could do was tell the truth and hope the truth would be believed.
It wasnít long before the truth was heard; they realized they had the
wrong man and my father was released. (Iíve never heard who the real
bank robber was, though.) Have you ever been wrongly accused of
something? You may not have been taken into police custody for
questioning, but have you ever been blamed for something you didnít do?
Most of us have. When I was a child, there were countless times when
my brothers would do something and I would take the rap. In those
circumstances, I tried to plead innocence but to no avail. I was
presumed guilty because my brothers said I was. In all fairness to them,
I suspect they have often said they took the rap for me - I just donít
remember those times! All-too-often, the perceptions of the accuser
cloud the truth and it cannot be seen or heard. Protesting does not
In many parts of the world, Americans are perceived as the cause of
poverty and suffering simply because we have enormous wealth. Itís a
perception that will not be easily changed because the accusers have
already passed judgment.
click here for the full sermon and more