In Front of the Heavenly Tribunal

So here he is, Dennis Bottwitz, aka “Carlos Dangle,” up in front of God’s judgment seat. He can’t see all the way up to the top, but further down there are angels to question him.

They want to know why he committed adultery, when God told him not to.

“Um, well, er… Y’see, it was the slogan that did it,” he finally says, after a lot of hommina-hommina. “Yes, the Ashley Madison Dating Service slogan. Life is Short. Have an Affair.

“It was only an advertising slogan,” the prosecuting angel says.

“Yeah, yeah, I know! Except it got me really thinking. Like, life really is short. And you got to enjoy it while you can. And it was supposed to be discreet, no one was supposed to know…”

“So you signed up? Did you really think you’d get away with it?”

“Well, gee whiz! Have a heart! I never meant to do it more than once. Just once! How was I supposed to know my life was going to be that short? One night, just one night–and the next morning, that moron in the Volt hops the curb and kills me! And next thing you know, I’m here. And you’re going to send me to Hell because I made one mistake?”

“You didn’t do it by mistake, Dennis. You did it on purpose.”

Dennis is really upset now. He can’t help shouting. “Yeah, well, so did 38 million other customers! And that’s only the names that the hackers actually got. And so did I dunno how many million guys who did it on their own without any help from Ashley Madison! Millions and millions and millions! Are you gonna send us all to Hell? Hah! There won’t be room for us down there!”

The angels exchange pitying looks and shake their heads. Poor stupid mortals. Bad enough they’re lumbered with original sin. That they should also be such idiots seems harsh.

“Dennis, have you anything to say before this court passes sentence on you?”

“Have I got anything to say? I’ll say! [Censored] What kinda raw deal is this, anyway? Nobody ever told me this crazy setup was real! I mean, who would ever think that? Angels! Heavenly court! Nobody believes this stuff! Nobody! Just try to tell anybody that it’s real. They’ll laugh in your face! I mean, holy mackerel, who thinks Hell is real?

After the “Guilty” verdict, as Dennis is taking that last, long, going-down ride in a certain kind of elevator never seen on earth, he bewails the unfairness of it all. The angelic elevator operator listens sympathetically.

“Like, how was I ever gonna beat the rap? No one cares about adultery! It’s just having an affair. Everybody does it. Most people can’t even spell ‘adultery’! No, they had it in for me, up there. They all had it in for me. I was guilty before I even took the stand. Go ahead, tell me I wasn’t! Tell me what I could’ve said to get out of this!”

The operator sighs.

“You could have said, ‘I’m sorry.'”

But by now the car has finished its descent.

7 comments on “In Front of the Heavenly Tribunal

  1. The biggest sell-job that Satan has ever done is to convince people that sexual immorality is no big deal. In my family tree, there are two acts of immortality which affect lives to this day. One happened in the 1940s, the other in the 1880’s, but my life has been affected. In both cases, people felt ashamed about a child that was conceived outside of marriage and in both cases, the innocent child suffered as a result. Both of these events forever altered the course of the family.

    In both cases, the sire avoided responsibility, which is in keeping with the very concept of immortality. Imagine that, a spur of the moment decision to give in to an impulse of the flesh can have ramifications which are felt long thereafter.

    I am not opposed to birth control, but people need to remember that even with the use of modern contraception it is quite possible for a child to be conceived by a single sexual act. Our Heavenly Father made it that way and we need to respect that. He built a degree of risk into the system and being aware of that should guide us towards making good choices. No one whom engages in sexual activity should be surprised if a child is conceived. If we look at it that way, we will realize the sobering truth that sexual intercourse is never a trivial matter. The human psyche and human civilization itself is built upon this as a fundamental element.

    There is a story I read on Fox News, just yesterday, about a fellow that endeavored to exhibit love towards his wife. One day, he came up behind his wife in the kitchen, swept her into a dance and ended by kissing her. He wasn’t aware that his 5 and 7 year old daughters were watching. When he finished, one of the little girls ran to her mother and hugged her, with tears in her eyes. She couldn’t explain why she was crying, but when her father asked her to describe her feelings in one word she said “loved”. I find the profundity of this event striking.

    One more thought comes to mind, with regard to immortality. When someone decides to adulterate a marriage, they are affecting the family from that moment on. I know of a man that left his wife for another woman, thinking only about his immediate feelings. What he didn’t think about was the fact that his children would no longer want to see him and that there would never again be a happy family gathering at which he would be welcome. It proved to be a very short-sighted and disastrous choice that fragmented his family forever more.

    God doesn’t need to send anyone to eternal torment for immorality, they’ve already bought their own ticket to a future of regret and pain.

    1. I understand this kind of thing all too well. I was on the receiving end after a 19 year marriage. For a while, what was going on in my life, was a real life soap opera, only with a much better plot than any fictional story. What my wife did, has had bad consequences that she still suffers from, as do I and our children. It caused havoc in the lives of our three children and their children. She has repented, and we are now good friends and talk each week. But like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond, consequences go on and on and on, for a long time, and for all of us, the effects will last until we all breath our last breath.

      About a year ago, she said to me, “You’re only going to hear this once, I really really regret divorcing you.” It was shortly after that, I had a long conversation with her on the phone, and just before I hung up, she said it has been good talking with me. And I said to her, “It was really nice talking with you today.” And you know what, I really meant it. Repentance and forgiveness is a wonderful thing.

      Someone once told me. A wife is only temporary, but an ex-wife is forever. Yep, that is so very true.

    2. I think every family has a story of adultery somewhere on the tree–and it’s never a happy story, is it?
      Like most mortal sins, it’s easily avoidable.And yet people don’t avoid it.

      It’s no mystery that we need a Savior.

  2. Great punch line, Lee. Without acknowledgment of sin, there’s no repentance, and without repentance no salvation. “I’m sorry” is what our loving Father is waiting to hear. But another sentence that’s almost hidden in the middle of this parable, and just as important as the punch line, is: “Nobody ever told me this crazy setup was real!” I’m afraid even in our churches very few sermons talk about sin and Judgment as realities. That wouldn’t be … nice. (Sigh.)

  3. I’ve heard many people exclaim, “I’m going to hell because that’s where all my friends are going.” Fool, Hell is the opposite of Heaven. In Heaven we have perfect fellowship with everyone; in Hell everyone is completely alone (no wonder there is gnashing of the teeth).

    A good friend of mine is a DJ. He was working a drunken party back in the day and everyone was singing as loud as they could to “I’m on the highway to hell.” The Holy Spirit convicted him on the spot, and he gave his life to Jesus. He went on to start a Christian radio station in our town 30 years ago that is still going strong today with him as its director.

Leave a Reply