Ivan’s Big Decision
by Deacon Tom Frankenfield
Johnny was so happy! His parents bought him a new football for his birthday. He had wanted this football for a long time. So, as soon as the party was over, Johnny ran outside with his friends and played football until it was time for supper. Totally exhausted from all the fun but totally happy with his new gift, Johnny kicked the ball into his garden and went off to eat his supper.
Now, Harry was close behind and saw where Johnny kicked the ball. Harry did not have is own football and admired Johnny’s new ball. So, Harry climbed the wire fence; entered Johnny’s garden and stole Johnny’s new football.
At the same time another friend, Ivan was close by and on his way home for supper. Ivan watched every movement Harry made when stealing the football. Ivan was shocked at what he observed!
Soon, Ivan arrived home. During his meal Ivan was very quiet. His mind was racing. What would he do with the information that was in his mind? He saw the theft and he knew how it would hurt when Johnny saw that his new football had gone missing. Should he tell Johnny? Should he talk to Harry about it? Ivan was troubled.
His conscience bothered Ivan so much that he could not sleep for most of the night. His mind was heavy with the evidence. Even though he had not personally done anything, the information was in his heart -- he was a witness. Late that sleepless night, Ivan remembered what he had learned at Church during the Deacon’s homily – to admonish the sinner. Did that mean he should tell Harry to put the ball back? What would Ivan do?
Finally, in the morning, Ivan made his decision. He said to himself, “I am going to talk to Harry about this.” Early that morning, Ivan ran straight to Harry’s house.
Ivan knocked on the door. When Harry answered, Ivan asked Harry if he wanted to play football. “What?” asked Harry. His face was frozen with fear because Ivan knew that Harry did not own a football of his own. Finally Harry answered, “Ivan, I don’t own a football. How can we play?”
This was the moment of truth for Ivan. He took a deep breath and said, “Harry, I think you have Johnny’s football. In fact, I saw you take it from Johnny’s garden yesterday. That was wrong and you should give it back.” As Ivan spoke, he felt stronger and stronger. God was giving Ivan the strength, for this difficult moment.
Now Harry just stared at Ivan, “Ivan, what are you saying? How did you see me?”
Ivan said, “I was close by walking home. But Harry, God was close by, too and He saw you take the ball. Harry you need to repent and make this right.”
Harry, who was totally embarrassed, said, “Okay, I know I did a wrong thing! I will make it better.” Harry then took the ball out of his house and returned it to Johnny’s garden.
When Harry was finished, Ivan gave Harry a big hug and said that he was proud of him and that he was sure that God was proud of him also.
My friends, it is very difficult to do the right thing sometimes. Ivan could have just stayed quiet because he was an innocent on looker. However, Ivan did as God instructs us…to admonish the sinner. Are there people that you know who are doing bad things? Pray for God’s strength to tell someone about their sin.
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