WIDOW    3'?m2f Giving, charity is not optional for believers

JUDGE -- (enters wearing black robe, crosses to podium or bench,
pounds gavel) This special session of criminal court will now
come to order. Send in the defendant.

WIDOW -- (enters, crosses to bench)

JUDGE -- The charge is petty theft. How does the defendant

WIDOW -- Your honor, I have already pleaded guilty at the
criminal courts building. Why are you making me plead guilty
again here in church? Are you trying to embarrass me?

JUDGE -- Just answer the charge.

WIDOW -- Very well. As before, I plead guilty.

JUDGE -- Before I pass judgement, I need to ask about your
personal circumstances. Are you married?

WIDOW -- No. My husband died about a year ago.

JUDGE -- Do you have any children from that marriage?

WIDOW -- Yes, as I told you at the courthouse, I have three
children, ages 5, 3 and 1.

JUDGE -- Where are you employed?

WIDOW -- Your Honor, I already answered all these questions

JUDGE -- Just answer the questions, I want these people to hear
the answers.

WIDOW -- Very well.

JUDGE -- Where are you employed?

WIDOW -- I'm not employed. I took a minimum wage job a few weeks
after my baby was born, but the company went out of business
about six months ago.

JUDGE -- Couldn't you get another job?

WIDOW -- Well, yes, but my car was repossessed and I didn't have
a way to get my children to and from the day care center during
the winter months.

JUDGE -- Are you familiar with this church?

WIDOW -- Yes, this is my church. I'm a member here. We've been
going to this church since before my children were born.

JUDGE -- Did any of the members of this church know that you
were unemployed?

WIDOW -- Yes, my family has been on the weekly prayer list for
several weeks. They've been praying for us.

JUDGE -- Tell the court what you stole and why you stole it.

WIDOW -- Your Honor, these are my friends. Do I have to...

JUDGE -- You have to.

WIDOW -- Very well. I stole some beans and rice from a grocery

JUDGE -- If you're going to risk going to jail, wouldn't it have
been wiser to steal something more valuable?

WIDOW -- I didn't need anything more valuable. I needed food.

JUDGE -- Why?

WIDOW -- Why?

JUDGE -- Yes, tell the court why you needed food.

WIDOW -- We were hungry. The unemployment compensation only
lasted six months and I didn't have enough money to pay the
mortgage payment AND buy food too. I sold nearly all my personal
possessions, including my wedding ring, in order to buy food,
but even that money ran out.

JUDGE -- Couldn't you refinance your house?

WIDOW -- We don't have any equity in the house.

JUDGE -- Well, at least you have a place to live.

WIDOW -- Not for long. I haven't been able to make the mortgage
payments regularly. The bank is foreclosing.

JUDGE -- Well, I think the court has enough information to make
its ruling. Since the defendant pleaded guilty on the charge of
petty theft, I hereby fine the defendant $5000.

WIDOW -- $5000!?

JUDGE -- Yes, and because your church family knew about your
need and didn't reach out to help you, I hereby order a
collection to be taken from the members of this church in the
amount of $5000 to be paid in cash to this widow.

WIDOW -- This is really embarrassing.

JUDGE -- YOU are not the one who should be embarrassed. The
church of God is not instructed to PRAY for orphans and widows
in their distress but to provide for their needs. Prayer was
never meant to be an excuse for failing to act.

This court is adjourned. (gavels, exits with widow)
2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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