Neither Should I

If you'd like to see that actual name -

If you’d like to see that actual name -

Fifty-four years, two hours and nine minutes ago as of this writing, my dad’s grain elevator in Union, Iowa exploded. A combustible combination of grain dust and oxygen, combined with a spark, blew the top clean off. No one was killed, but a couple guys were hurt, one being hurled several feet and slammed into a wall. At about the same time, twenty miles away in Marshalltown, I entered the world.

I’m not saying I had anything to do with the explosion; there were multiple witnesses that I was nowhere near the place before or during the mishap. CSI Union exonerated me of any wrong doing, but from day one I have carried a tendency to feel a little guilty about things, even things that I had nothing (supposedly!) to do with.

That old elevator is still standing, rebuilt of course, and you can see it if you take a detour and pass though Union on your way to Whitten or New Providence. The logo is badly faded, but if you look close, “Johnson-Hauser” is still visible with a good squint. Like the lettering, my tendency toward guilt has faded over the years too.

Somewhere along the line, I also picked up the totally erroneous idea that I needed to feel guilty to God too. While that brand of guilt has been fading more rapidly as I realize the depth of His love, He recently showed me how far I had come in aligning my perception of His love with the reality of His love. Like most of His messages to us, it was simple, subtle, yet profound and powerful…

I was reading aloud the passage from Matthew where Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. He grew afraid and began to sink. Jesus immediately reach out and pulled him up. Then came the famous words, “You of little faith…why did you doubt?” I have read that passage to myself or out loud countless times, always with the same intonation – you dope, you failed again, won’t you ever get it? This time, this reading, was different, totally different. Same words, totally different meaning, feeling and message. This time I am whole-heartedly convinced I said it right, as Jesus said it and meant it. There was no forethought, preplanning, rehearsing or crib notes on how to say it properly, it simply came out different – little brother, why’d ya doubt? I had you all along; nothing to worry about. Chill, trust me, you are safe and loved in this world as long as you walk with me.

Pure words cannot convey the gaping chasm between the two intents. Same words, diametrically opposite meanings – One uplifting, the other crushing. One full of love, the other sadly lacking. One accepting, one condemning. One said with a loving smile, the other a judgmental frown.

On a different page, Jesus didn’t accuse the woman when everyone else was ready to stone her. Whether another or myself, neither should I.

Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I.” John 8:10-11 NLT


  1. Amen…a lesson that I am stil “learning”!