This reality of the law of Christ is well illustrated by an account from the life of Evangeline Booth (1865-1950), daughter of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army. As one who ministered often to the dregs of society, she found herself one morning outside the large iron gates of a local police court and temporary prison. Waiting for the gates to open, she heard the shuffling of heavy feet and loud, agitated voices. In her own words:
The gates opened wide, and I witnessed a sight which, if eternity could wash away from my mind, time never can. It was a woman. Two policemen walked in front and two behind. One stalwart man firmly held the right arm and the other the left. Her hair was uncombed and matted and disheveled. Her right temple was blackened with bruises. Clots of dry blood stood upon her left temple. Her clothes were torn and bloodstained. She tried to wrench her arms from the grasp of the policemen…
Whether it was a divine suggestion or not, I did not stop to think, but the impulse of a burning desire which filled my heart as she passed made me step forward and kiss her on the cheek…. She looked around wildly for a moment and then said, “My God, who kissed me?”
Later I went to the prison in the hope of seeing her… The door was opened, and I slipped in… Then again she asked me, “Do you know who kissed me?” I said, “It was I who kissed you.” Then I told her of Him whose life was so much more tender than mine could ever be and how He went to the cross and bore our sins upon Himself and was wounded for our transgressions that He might put the kiss of pardon upon our brow.
“Love is a plant of heavenly origin. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. It is found only in the heart where Jesus reigns.” – Evangline Booth
This is an excerpt from The Law of Christ: Part 3
Let me give you an example. Some of you have read this and you're aware of it. This is Evangeline Booth, who was a daughter of William Booth, founder of Salvation Army. Evangeline Booth: "As one who ministered often to the dregs of society, she found herself one morning outside the large iron gates of a local police court and temporary prison. Waiting for the gates to open she heard the shuffling of heavy feet and loud, agitated voices. In her own words (and I'm quoting from her), she says, 'The gates opened wide, and I witnessed a sight which, if eternity could wash away from my mind, time never can. It was a woman. Two policemen walked in front and two behind. (Now the Salvation Army, in the early days, they reached out to the lowest of the low and they were full of life). Two policemen walked in front and two behind. One stalwart man firmly held the right arm and the other the left. (You got six guys escorting this woman out). Her hair was uncombed and matted and disheveled. Her right temple was blackened with bruises. Clots of dry blood stood upon her left temple. Her clothes were torn and bloodstained. She tried to wrench her arms from the grasp of the policemen. The very atmosphere of the morning was laden with her curses and oaths. She tossed her head wildly as the six policemen dragged her down the passageway. What could I do? One more moment and the golden opportunity to be of help would be gone. Could I offer a prayer? No, there was not time. Could I sing? It would be absurd. Could I give her money? She could not take it. Could I quote a verse of Scripture? She would not heed it.
"Whether it was a divine suggestion or not, I did not stop to think, but the impulse of a burning desire which filled my heart as she passed made me step forward and kiss her on the cheek. Whether the police were taken off their guard by my extraordinary action, relaxed their grasp, I do not know. But with one wrench she freed her arms and clasped her hands as the wind spread her matted, disheveled hair, and she looked toward the grey skies and said, 'My God.' She looked around wildly for a moment and then said, 'My God, who kissed me? My God, who kissed me? Nobody has kissed me since my mother died.'
"Lifting her tattered apron she buried her face in her hands and, like a little lamb, she was led to the vehicle which took her to prison. Later I went to the prison in the hope of seeing her, and at the door stood the warden. When I approached the warden, she said, 'We think her mind is gone. She does nothing but pace up and down her cell, asking me every time I go in if I know who kissed her.' 'Would you let me go in and speak to her?' I asked, 'I am her only and best friend.' The door was opened and I slipped in. Her face was clean. Her eyes were large and beautiful. And she said, 'Do you know who kissed me?' Then she told me her story. 'When I was a little girl of seven years old, my widowed mother died. She died very poor, although she was of genteel birth. She died in a back basement in the dark. When she was dying she called me to her, took my little face in her hands, and kissed and said to me, 'My poor, little girl. My defenceless, little girl. O God, have pity on my little girl; and when I'm gone, protect her and take care of her.' From that day to this, nobody ever put a kiss upon my face until recently. Then again she asked me, 'Do you know who kissed me?' I said, 'It was I who kissed you.'
"Then I told her of Him whose life was so much more tender than mine could ever be, and how He went to the cross and bore our sins upon Himself and was wounded for our transgressions, that He might put the kiss of pardon upon our brow. In Him she found light, and joy, and comfort, and salvation, and healing, and love. Before she was released from the prison, the warden testified not only to the change in her life, but to its beauty. She was made, through Christ, the means of salvation to numbers of others who were down as low as she had been, and who were bound with fetters as heavy as those with which she herself had been bound."
Now what is that? What law are you going to say, "Kiss this woman now"? You see how different it is? The New Testament is not the idea God gave us a new list of laws. He didn't do that. He gave us the life of Christ, and He gave us some signposts saying, "Look fellows, this is radical. This is what it's going to look like." That's what He is doing in the Sermon on the Mount. And these things are things that God has given when we desperately need... How did she know to do that? She knew it because she loved people like that, and the Holy Spirit prompted her to do it right then; and she just did it, without thinking. That's what we need. That's what we're talking about. And beloved, I'm speaking for myself, we are so quick to become acting atheists and forget about the Lord Jesus, and read our Bible verses and do our thing, our Christian thing. But if you're full of Christ and full of love, it's totally different, isn't it? Totally different. And it's a living relationship. We have to be brought back to that over and over and over. It's not your list of rules.
Sometimes I go on trips overseas, come back, my wife's standing at the door, she's got a list: "Kiss husband. Hug husband." Do you realize how insulting that is? If you've got love in your heart you're going to do the right things. But a lot of times, that's the way we are treating the Lord. "I didn't do this, I didn't do this..." He's looking at something a lot bigger than that.
Now which of these things do you think will most convict of sin: the Law of Moses or the law of Christ? Here's an example - what I just read. I mean, it's convicting. I remember when I was a college student, I was staying with a family that was full of the Spirit of God. And there were always a lot of people coming there for meals, and the kitchen was just a beehive of activity - women fixing stuff and what have you. And one of the kids came in, right in the middle of all that, and had to get a glass of milk out of the refrigerator. You know, it's like he was already an annoyance. And then he opens the door up, and breaks the glass of milk all over the floor, right while they're preparing this big meal. And his mother turned around like this, she said, "Oh, Steven, I love you." She took his face in her hand. That did more to convict a self-centered college student. I mean, we were talking last night about college students. They'll come through your door, and they'll say, "Feed me, I'm yours. What can you do to serve me?" [Laughter]. But to see that, you see, that's much more than the "thou shalt nots". It's convicting.
Watchman Nee tells a story, there was a Christian there in China where they had these fields that they would paddle full of water - rice fields - they would paddle them full of water using a bicycle-like contraption that has a water wheel on it. And this man paddled and paddled, filled his field full of water. And the neighbor came in the night and opened the gate, and let the water out, and it ran down to the neighbor's field. So the Christian came the next day, he saw that; he closed the gate, didn't say anything, filled his field up again. Next night, same thing happened. And it was time for prayer meeting, he came in and said, "I haven't done anything against my neighbor, I haven't said anything hurtful to him or anything. But somehow I feel like this is just not measuring up to Christ." And they prayed about it. The next day he opened the gate and filled his neighbor's field first, then closed the gate and filled his field. The neighbor came to him, and he eventually became a Christian. He said, "What, What, What is this?" It's the law of Christ!
When Jesus said, "If they compel you to go one mile, go with them two," you know, the Romans had the right to compel you to carry their burden for one mile. So they yell at you and call you over there, you think, "Well, I'm doing pretty well. I'm not complaining, I'm not really angry, I didn't curse the guy, I'm not thinking bad things about him." None of that measures up, does it? So Jesus said, Go the second mile. It's during that second mile the guy is wondering, "What is different about this person?" I mean, he starts talking to you, and you have the opportunity to witness to him. It all sounds so good, doesn't it brethren, until you're carrying that burden the first half a mile [Laughter]. It's a lot easier to preach about it than it is to do it, because in reality it's sweaty and it's heavy, and your back is hurting. It's the same way with our spouses. It's the same way with our children. It's the same way in the body of Christ. There's nothing more costly than that. It's costly. But that's where it is. That's what we're talking about.
Another question comes up, How can you tell what real love is? Two college students living in sin, they say, "Well, we love one another." Jack Kevorkian, he loves his people so much he helps them commit suicide. Love is claimed to support abortion. So it sounds like Jesus left us a pretty flexible, mushy-type standard, doesn't it? But what did He say? He didn't say, "Love one another, " He said, "Love one another as I have loved you." In other words, all of His teaching, His holiness, His perfection, His life, everything about Him, His manner, all that, that's the standard. And that takes care of the problem. The conduct and life and person of the Lord Jesus Himself is the rule and duty of the Christian. We're called upon to be just as holy as He was.