And now I bring you the conclusion to this fascinating story. To date, Mr. Isaac Jacobs has taken a group of bankers and patrons hostage in his attempt to capture the men, former Nazis, who were responsible for killing his wife. He retold his story to the mass of humanity tuned in via Fox News, and is now about to execute the men who destroyed his life.
The gun never wavered. “Yes, Mr. Cato, do you have something to say?”
“Well, I reckon that these two fellows are guilty, just like you said. What can I do to save them the death sentence?”
“Why would you want to spare them?”
“Because all of us have sinned. There isn’t any of us that could pick up a stone and cast it at these two. We are all guilty of the same thing.”
“You have murdered, Mr. Cato? I find that highly improbable.”
“Well, the Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not commit murder,’ but Jesus said that if we hate anyone that we have committed murder in our hearts. I’ll bet that every person in this room has hated someone at some point in their lives, right?” He turned to the crowd, who sat dumbfounded. “What about you, Rose? Who have you hated?”
She spoke deliberately. “The father of my baby.”
“What about you, Miss Kincaid?”
“Well, I hate all men.”
“What about you, Mr. Cato?” Rose asked.
“I spent most of my time hating God.”
Isaac turned around, clearly surprised. “God? I thought you said you were at peace with God.”
“I am now. There was a time in my past that I hated God. A few years ago, I was a fifth generation rancher, right here in Texas. My family had owned the Cato Cattle Company, the 3C Ranch, every since Texas has been a state. They fought Indians and Mexicans to maintain it. Then they fought West Texas weather. My family’s blood and sweat bought and maintained that country. But a few years ago, when the droughts started, I lost everything. I lost my children’s inheritance and I lost the family legacy. I prayed everyday that God would intervene, but He didn’t. I believed in Him up to the day they served me with the foreclosure papers. What I didn’t know was that God was allowing a work of redemption to take place in my heart. You see, I just thought I was a Christian because I went to the Baptist church, but that wasn’t enough. Just like sitting in a garage doesn’t make you a car. I had to find myself at the bottom to find redemption. I had nowhere else to go expect to God.”
“I assume that you have a point, Mr. Cato.”
“Well, sir. It seems to me that we have all committed murder in God’s sight. We are all guilty of breaking His law. We all deserve death, including you, Isaac.”
“That may be, Mr. Cato, but I have lived my entire life expecting to kill these two gentlemen, and I fully intend to do so. Someone will die today.”
“Then I will take their place, just like Jesus took my place. Don’t you see? Jesus made it possible for us to be saved, because He paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I don’t know why God allowed the holocaust to happen. I just know that God was there. Sometimes He doesn’t make sense. Our ways aren’t His ways and our thoughts aren’t His thoughts. I can’t explain why bad things like wars and ethnic cleansing take place, except that we are all sinners, but I can tell you that God will forgive us of our sins. Even the Blitz Brothers. You included, Mr. Jacobs.”
“Oh, it’s much too late for me, Mr. Cato.”
“That’s where you’re wrong, sir. But it will be too late when you die of cancer. You are no better than those two murderers. You have committed the same crime. The only difference is that their crime hurt more people than yours. You are just as guilty as they are. And all of you need God’s forgiveness, just as I did.”
Isaac considered his words for a moment. Was it possible? He had given up on God so many years before, could it be that God hadn’t given up on him? There was so much hatred spilling its venom deep into his soul. Not only had he hated the Germans, he had also hated God, whom he held responsible for the murder of so many devout Jews. “Mr. Cato, where was God during the holocaust? Why did He abandon us to death and destruction?”
“I don’t know. I’m not a theologian. What I do know is this, God was there. It’s hard to imagine, but it is true. It was bad enough as it was, can you imagine what it would have been like without Him? The holocaust wasn’t the first time that the Jews were persecuted. Remember what happened with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They also were burned alive, just not by the Nazis, but by a different regime, the Babylonians. Those three might have lived through it, but how many of their brethren were slaughtered by the Babylonians? What about the Egyptians? They also enslaved the Jews for their own selfish purposes. But God was there for them. I don’t have an answer for you, except that God will never leave you nor forsake you.”
“You make a most persuasive argument, Mr. Cato. Yet, I am not willing that these men should go free. What do you propose?”
“If they are guilty, then I don’t want them to go free either. If they are guilty, then they must stand and give an account of their lives. Even when we ask God for forgiveness, there are still consequences for our actions. Allow the law to bring these men to justice. Isaac, one day soon you will die, then you will face the Throne of Judgment. I am more concerned that when you are brought to justice before God, that you are found innocent. The only way to do that is to repent of your sins and trust in the blood of Jesus and allow Him to forgive you.”
Silence encompassed the group, each of whom sat with their heads bowed deep in thought. The camera continued to record, but the reporter could not bring himself to break the silence. Isaac appeared to be struggling within himself, fighting for control. Yet, Cato’s words had burned deep within his heart, ripping the calluses off his seared conscience. For so many years, one desire consumed him – kill. Cato’s words rang true, vibrating through every tissue, into the core of his being.
Adolph Blitz sighed deeply and almost slumped to the floor, then righted himself and spoke softly. “I’m glad its over.”
David spoke harshly in his native tongue, but Adolph ignored his warning. “No, David, its over. I’m very tired of the nightmares. I want them to end. I’m tired of running.” He looked at Isaac, who still lorded over them, pistol drawn. “Mr. Jacobs, my apology is pitiful compared to my sins, but I still offer it. I was the one who held your wife that night. David shot her. Up to that point, I had not killed or seen anyone killed. But I realized that I was now a part of…. Somehow, I thought that I was serving God. But… I was wrong. I allowed anonymity to conceal my desire to be important, but it only created more thirst for power. Everyday, I remember my actions and everyday I wish to be forgiven. If only it was possible. Please kill me; I don’t deserve to live. That is all I have to say.”
Cato stood and walked over to Isaac. “Mr. Jacobs? It’s over. No one is going to die today.” He reached for the gun and carefully removed it from Issac’s non-responsive fingers. “Let the court decide their fate. After all, you still have to stand before God in judgment. I think you have enough to consider with your own guilt without playing Judge also.”
Isaac’s hands trembled as the hatred began to melt within him. He nodded at Cato, then, suddenly old, sat carefully in a chair and waited for the police to end his hostage situation.
The reporter kneeled beside him. “Isaac? I promise that I will tell your story. I will be a voice for you; I will find a way to help you.”
Isaac smiled gratefully. “Thank you, but my life is over soon enough. For the first time, I now have to worry about my future.”