The Fall Guy. Ouch!


Was it worth the picture?

Some people are born to fly; others, like me, are born to fall!

We were in the gondola, making our way up Grouse Mountain. I was busily using my camera to capture the unique aerial view of the Vancouver skyline when it was announced that we were arriving at our destination. The voice over the loudspeaker strongly advised everyone to hold on to something, but I was so engrossed in my endeavors to capture the prize-winning picture that I didn't even hear the announcement! As I was readying myself to snap that photo, a jolt made me stumble backwards. I reached out to steady myself, only to find there was nothing there to steady myself against! My feet flew up into the air and I landed fair and square on my bum. To my dismay I also succeeded in taking several passengers along with me! Call that embarrassing! "I am so sorry! Oh my! What have I done! I am really sorry!"

A couple of days later, while visiting Hot Springs Cove Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, we were greeted by torrential rain. Boy can it rain on Vancouver Island! On our way back to the boat that had brought us to this unique park, we had to cross a wooden walkway that connected the docks to the pier. The first part of the walkway was level. No problems there. But the second part descended sharply to water level. This part had been specially built with wooden slats along each side, placed about 8 inches apart, to provide for traction should the walkway become slippery. There were no slats in the middle however, and since it was raining, I resolved to stay away from there!

My family was already at the dock before I even approached the walkway. Once again I had taken too much time capturing the unique beauty of the park with my camera. (Of course, no one could tell I was a tourist . . .) Not wanting to miss my boat, I courageously stepped out. As I began my descent to the dock, I carefully clung to the rail, placing my feet squarely along those wooden slats. I briefly found myself wondering about them. Would they really hold me up? Just how slippery could a wooden walkway over water become?

I was about to find out first hand!

To my dismay, new arrivals had just stepped up onto the walkway from the dock, and there were lots of them. To make matters worse, there was another tourist using the same grooved path I was using! Only moments went by before she and I soon stood face to face. She was wise. She wasn't willing to risk her life on the smooth surface in the middle, and she wasn't budging. After heavy, unspoken deliberation, I gave in and stepped over to the middle so that she could pass through. Big mistake! My foot never even made solid contact with the slippery wood. Instead, it flew up into the air as my bum launched itself in the opposite direction. Once again, I found myself landing fair and square on the soft part of my lower anatomy. To make it worse, I was also sliding down the gangplank!

"Look mommy!" shouted out a childish voice ahead of me. "That looks fun!"

I quickly spread legs wide enough apart that my feet were able to anchor themselves on the wooden slats, and thus my slide was arrested. It took me a moment to recapture all of my lost utensils: camera, camera lens, glasses, etc, but for some reason, people now let me go down the grooved part of the walkway! I wonder why?

I must be some kind of a fall guy!

In life we all have experienced sin, and we've learned firsthand the embarrassing consequences of our fallen nature: "Remember the height from which you have fallen!" (Rev 2:5 NIV); and "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom 3:23 NIV)

Far from wanting our life works to be published, we hope that no one will dare write a book about the "real" us!

But then someone came into our lives and told us that we didn't need to be ashamed any longer. "I am willing to become your fall guy," He said, "I am willing to pay the price for your consequences, so that you can be free to enjoy real living!"

That someone died on a cross, 2000 years ago, just for you: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners , Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8 NIV); and "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV) Jesus willingly became our fall guy, without ever sinning (see Heb 4:15)!

However some of us have forgotten the cruel price Jesus had to pay to set us free. Some of us have returned to our former vomit: "Of them the proverbs are true: 'A dog returns to its vomit,' and, 'A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.'" (2 Peter 2:22 NIV)

How could this happen to someone that has experienced first-hand the liberation provided by Jesus? Simple enough. He gave in to temptation, and little by little, he allowed sin to once again become his reality.

Paul encourages us to remember the price that was paid on our behalf and to honor the donor with our entire body: "You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Cor 6:20 NIV)

Lyrics from a Christian song speak about a man who pleads with God to not let him end up the way God found him.  He asks the Lord to teach him the profound truth of how far the East is from the West.  We all need to do the same thing: Come to Jesus and have Him teach us once again "how far the east is from the west"!

Remember the words of the Psalms? "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear himů" (Ps 103:11-13 NIV)

In those days, there were neither longitudes nor latitudes. One could go on and on in either the eastern or the western direction without ever reaching the end! This is how much God loves us and is willing to forgive us, if we repent: "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped outů" (Acts 3:19 NIV)

Once we realize how extreme the price that was paid on our behalf actually is, once we comprehend the infinite distance between the East and the West, we will never even want to consider being separated from God again! Away with the filth! Welcome to the arms of the lover of our soul! Finally at home and at peace!

P.S. Have you ever heard of the ceremony called tashlikh?  On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish people go to the nearest stream of running water and empty their pockets (some throw bread), letting the water carry away the lint and dust found there.  This is symbolic that their sins are also carried away, and one of the texts that is read during this ceremony is found in Mic 7:19 "And compassion is on its way to us. You'll stamp out our wrongdoing. You'll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean." (The Message).  This is yet another powerful way to remind us of the depths of God's forgiveness!

Rob Chaffart

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