On Sunday I stole a bible…

…and yesterday I threw it in the bin.

What outrageous behaviour! As always, context is everything.

On Sunday I was sitting in a day room on a hospital ward with my husband and his parents, as we waited for my father-in-law to be discharged. He was already feeling much better after having an artery unclogged.

There were a few magazines on the table, and my husband rifled through them.

“Pass me that New Testament and Psalms,” I told him. “I’ll read something edifying.”

Or so I thought.

This bible had been used almost as a journal. Np, wrong word. It was, in many respects, a book of names. Names of people who were guilty of certain things.  I’m not joking. In effect, this man had written lists of ‘sinners’, those who would not enter the Kingdom of God.

Hence there were things like ‘Fornication: Rosemary’, written in there. In some bible passages words were underlined and notes added at the side: ‘Roger – a weed, a son of the devil.’ (These weren’t the actual names written.) Probably just as well I didn’t look up the sheep and the goats passage. I get the impression this man would have made a copious list of those with goat-like qualities.

Admittedly he at least included himself on these lists.

But I sat there, eyes popping, and hissed to my husband “I can’t leave this here!!”

I thought about binning it there and then but then another patient came in and I baulked at the idea of him seeing me bin a Gideon’s bible.

“I’m going to steal it,” I hissed. And I did, subtly sliding it into my handbag. There was a bookmark with a bible verse in my bag, so I put that on the table instead, not having a bible to hand.

Yesterday we got home and I put it in the bin. Today it was collected by the rubbish lorry.

I do not regret it; although perhaps I should have added one more entry: STEALING: Lucy Mills.

Well. God can judge me.

In the meantime I pray for the man who wrote those awful lists. Yes, I do know his name. And no, I’m not going to write it here.

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5 thoughts on “On Sunday I stole a bible…

  1. angalmond July 2, 2013 / 3:21 pm

    What a terribly sad thing for that person to have done – I cannot condemn your theft, Lucy – for I feel that if another hospital patient/visitor had picked the bible up for comfort and found those words, it may not have helped them to come closer to God. I am glad you could leave a bookmark behind – and pray that someone will be blessed by the verse on it [and I am intrigued to know what it was]

    Glad FIL is feeling better too.

    blessings xx

    • Lucy Mills July 3, 2013 / 12:24 pm

      Absolutely, Ang – you could actually barely see the text under all the scrawling anyway. I did not feel that someone looking at a bible for the first time should look at for the first time.

      I believe the the verse was Proverbial…Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…

  2. Wanderlust_Disciple July 2, 2013 / 7:15 pm

    That’s crazy! People amaze me with their crazy behaviors everyday…. I can’t condemn what you did, it’s not our place to judge or condone no matter the situation.
    You know, I can almost imagine Jesus doing what you did. With his holy rage at the sales in the temple, taking evil out of what should be a holy place, or at least a place of peace (a hospital waiting room), and replacing it with the right kind of mind set (the bookmark)
    \\
    //
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    love, <3 S

  3. Rosalie Squires July 3, 2013 / 6:17 am

    Oh wow!
    You know, I was just discussing with some friends last night that it is such a paradox that right and wrong are absolutes and yet what is right for a given personin a given situation at a given time is not the same as for someone else, a different situation or a different time.
    This story provs the point. Thank you.

  4. Joy Lenton July 3, 2013 / 4:32 pm

    If anything, Lucy, I feel your actions were both bold and brave rather than wrong. And I agree that this is the type of thing Jesus might have done in a holy rage as such. To have left the bible there for any unsuspecting person to find and read the scribbled additions would have been a wrong thing to do. How sad that someone should keep such a record of not only his own perceived wrongdoings but also those of others. For don’t we have a God who expressly tells us not to judge one another and whose love, mercy, grace and forgiveness covers all our sin and remembers it no more? I won’t be telling on you, just quietly applauding your deed! Blessings :) xx

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