The Dart Test
I read an illustration years ago that made quite an impact upon me. I do not know who wrote it, but I stumbled upon it again recently. Allow me to share it with you today and make an application.

A young man by the name of John told of an experience he had in one of his classes at a Christian university. His teacher, Dr. Smith, was known for his elaborate object lessons. John walked into the class one day and knew they were in for some fun. On the wall was a big target, and on a nearby table were many darts.

Dr. Smith told his students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person's picture, if they wished. Sheryl drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Andrew drew a picture of his younger brother. John decided to draw a picture of a former friend. He put a great deal of detail into his drawing; he even included pimples on the face for fun. John was pleased with the overall effect he had achieved.

The class lined up and, one by one, began throwing darts at their pictures which Dr. Smith taped to the large target on the wall. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their pictures were ripped. John looked forward to his turn and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats.

As John sat thinking about how angry he was because he didn't have a chance to throw any darts at his target, Dr. Smith removed the pictures and the large target from the wall. To everyone's surprise, underneath the target was a picture of Jesus.

A hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of the Lord. Holes and jagged marks covered His face; His eyes were pierced where the darts had penetrated deeply.

Dr. Smith only uttered a few words to the quiet class - "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me" (Matt. 25:40).

No other words were necessary to bring tear-filled eyes to the students as they contemplated the picture of Christ they damaged with their hatred and jealousy.

Now, admittedly, the context surrounding Matthew 25:40 is not dealing specifically with actions of hatred or jealousy. It speaks of acts of kindness and love such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, etc. Jesus' point was that when we fail to help people we are capable of helping, then we have failed God. To serve people in these ways is to serve Jesus Christ Himself, and to fail to serve people is to fail to serve God.

As humans, we are all made in God's awesome image (Gen. 1:26,27). Thus, to treat a human being in a certain way (whether good or bad) is essentially to treat God in that manner. When we try to harm or destroy our fellow human beings with the various darts at our disposal, although we do not see it at the time, we are attacking God as well. When we do something harmful toward others, we are indeed doing it to the Lord!

Friends, do you have hatred or jealousy in your life toward another person? If so, pray for a better attitude and determine to stop throwing darts. Let us close with I John 4:20,21 - "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also." Do you pass the dart test?