Dirk Willem

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Read Proverbs Chapter 14

“There is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12

There are times in life when the hardest thing to know is what the right thing to do is. What appears to be right ends in death.

Dirk Willem lived in the 16th century. He was an anabaptist. Peaceful citizens who didn’t believe in war. Their descendants would become today’s Mennonites and Amish. The authorities at the time believed in infant baptism. Dirk Willem and his fellow anabaptists did not, they believed baptism was reserved for adulthood. As a result of their beliefs, they were persecuted and imprisoned.

Dirk was imprisoned in the Netherlands as a result of his convictions. Understanding he would be put to death for his belief, he escaped over the prison wall using strips of cloth tied together. Unbeknownst to him, his path of escape was over a frozen pond. The guard who pursued him fell through the ice in the middle of the chase. Dirk lived his life by the scriptures. He believed what is says in Luke 6:27:

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,”

When he saw the guard fall through the ice, he knew he had to help him. He turned back and rescued him. The guard would have let him go, but his commander was watching from the edge of the pond. He ordered him to take Dirk back into custody. On May 16, 1569 he was burned at the stake for his act of heroism.

What seemed right to him led to his death in the most literal sense of the word. Fortunately, we have the freedom to believe as we choose today. Still though, our choices can lead to death. How do we know if what we choose is right? Prayer and supplication is the best answer. Trusting God, and His word is always a right choice. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans, all things work to the good for those who believe and trust in Him (Romans 8:28).

We will never know if Dirk regretted saving the life of the guard. What we do know is he loved his enemy and as a result met Jesus sooner than he had anticipated. Where Jesus is, there is life in abundance.

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