Torn in half (1)

newtestament book
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Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from your law.

Psalm 119, 18.

Many years ago a believer distributing Christian literature greeted a woman in a forest cottage in France and offered her a New Testament for sale. Jeanne hesitated. Would the priest approve? That was the question. She wistfully eyed the small volume and finally produced 50 centimes, saying, “I cannot refuse, monsieur, but may I be forgiven if it is a sin?”

When Jacques, her husband, returned, she timidly produced the book. As she feared, he was tired and cross; he upbraided her for spending his money in that way. “But,” she said, “it wasn’t all your money. I brought my dowry when we married. The 50 centimes were as much mine as yours.” – “Give me the book,” Jacques shouted in a temper and snatched it from her. “The money was half yours and half mine; so is the book.” He tore it in two, kept one part and threw the other to Jeanne.

Several days later Jacques remembered the book as he rested from charcoal burning in the forest. He decided to look at it. It was the last half of the New Testament, which he had divided in Luke’s gospel. He started reading: “… and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” He was fascinated and read the story to the end. Questions arose in his mind: What had the son done? Where had he been? What made him return? These questions haunted him, but his pride prevented him from asking for the first part of the book to discover the answers.