Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Seeing is Believing

“What is it this time?” asked Abba Ah Beng as senior disciple Ah Kow dragged junior disciple Ah Lek into his meditation cell. “Why are you interrupting my meditation on the gospel of John?”

“I caught this thief stealing food from the kitchen,” shouted Ah Kow, “he must be punished. Greedy pig!”

“Ah Lek, what have you to say for yourself?” asked Abba Ah Beng, his serenity of biblical meditation shattered.

Silence. Ah Lek just looked at the ground.

“Young man, tell me the truth. Are you stealing food from the kitchen?”

Again silence.

“Go to your cell and stay there for three days! You will only have water but no food. You will confess and fast and pray for forgiveness” Abba Ah Beng ordered.

One week later, Ah Kow spotted Ah Lek sneaking out of the kitchen window with a bag of roast beef. “Gotcha,” Ah Kow thought to himself as he followed Ah Lek at a distance. “Where are you going? I’m gonna catch you with food in your mouth”

Ah Lek walked briskly to the village. It was a cold winter evening. Reaching the edge of the village, he looked fugitively around before ducking into a small hut. He was there for an hour before he came out. A pretty young girl came to the door and waved goodbye to him. Watching from behind a bush, Ah Kow’s jaw dropped to the ground.

“Is this true? Senior disciple said you are keeping a mistress in the village. Tell me the truth or I will expel you.” Abba Ah Beng’s face was turning a crimson red as he struggled to keep his temper. The other disciples cowered in the background.

Silence. Ah Lek continued to look at the ground.

“Go to your cell until I decide what to do with you! You are a disgrace to our community”

That night, Abba Ah Beng cannot find peace as he tried to meditate. His soul was in turmoil. He dressed and went to the house by the village. He knocked on the door. A pretty young girl opened the door. “Abba sir. I had wanted to come to see you but my father is very sick and I cannot leave his side. He is a strong man but he fell down last month . Now he cannot move his arms and legs. Your disciple is very kind to bring food for us. I have planned to come to thank you personally when my father is better.”

Abba Ah Beng looked into the shack through the door and saw a shrunken paralysed man lying on the bed. Compassion filled his heart and he felt a strong stirring of the Holy Spirit. Abba Ah Beng strode to the bed and commanded, “In the Name of Jesus be well!” The man sunken on the bed blinked as he felt strength returning to his limbs.

“Ah Lek, why didn’t you tell us you are helping this sick man and his daughter?” Abba Ah Beng said, facing all his disciples in the chapel the next morning.

“I..I didn’t think I should. Didn’t Jesus teach that in works of charity, do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing?” stammered Ah Lek.

“I do not think Jesus meant it so literally. It will be confusing if your right and left hand do not know what each is doing. He means we must not boast about our good deeds. At times you have to let others know or it may be misinterpreted. You could have been expelled.”

Turning to Ah Kow, Abba Ah Beng said, “And why are you so quick to judge your brother disciple? You see him stealing food and think he is a greedy pig. You see a girl and think he is having a mistress. In your mind, you have already judged him guilty before you give him a chance to prove his innocence. I wish you will have the love to judge your brother innocent unless proven otherwise.”

“Or better still don’t judge at all,” Abba Ah Beng turning to the rest of the disciples, “ Jesus said ‘Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?’ Next time, think carefully before you cast the first stone.”.

more Abba Ah Beng stories

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