Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Goodbye, Mother!

By Larry Pasley

    Walking through a supermarket, a young man noticed an old lady following him around. He ignored her for a while, but when he got to the checkout line, she got in front of him.
    “Pardon me,” she said. “I’m sorry if I’ve been staring, but you look just like me son who died recently.
    “I’m sorry for your loss,” the young man replied. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
    “Well, as I’m leaving, could you just say ‘Goodbye, mother!?’ It would make me feel so much better.” She gave him a sweet smile.
    “Of course I can,” the young man promised.
    As she gathered her bags and left, he called out “Goodbye, mother!” just as she had requested, feeling good about her smile.
    Stepping up to the counter, he saw that his total was about $100 higher than it should be. “That amount is wrong,” he said. “I only have a few items!”
    “Oh, your mother said that you would pay for her,” explained the clerk.

    There are many situations in life where people pretend something to take advantage of others.
    The Bible records an interesting situation which involves pretense to gain advantage.
    In Genesis 38 We see the story of Judah and Tamar. Judah married and had three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er married Tamar and because of Er’s evil ways, the Lord killed him. The custom in that day was, if the oldest son died without having an heir then the next older brother was to raise up an heir for his brother by having relations with his wife.
    Onan did not want to raise up an heir for his brother so he “spilled his seed upon the ground” so Tamar would not become pregnant. This displeased the Lord and he killed him also.
     Shelah was not yet grown so Judah asked Tamar to stay in her father’s house until Shelah was grown. Judah was afraid his third and last son would die also. He probably did not intend to ever have Shelah fulfill his obligation toward Tamar.
    So, after Shelah was grown and he had not fulfilled his obligation, Tamar takes things into her own hands and after the death of Judah’s wife, Tamar pretends to be a harlot, covers her face and places herself in the path of Judah. Judah sees her, does not know who she is, and Judah asks to have relations with her. Tamar asks him to give her his signet (seal), his cord and his staff as a pledge until he would send her a young goat. Judah agreed.
when he sent the goat they could find no harlot and the people said there had never been a harlot there.
    Three months later, Judah was told that Tamar had played the harlot and was with child. Judah was going to have her burned for her sin but when she was brought out, she showed the signet, cord and staff and said, “By the man to whom these belong, I am with child.”
    Judah responded, "She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son."
    Tamar had twins, Perez and Zerah, from this encounter with Judah.
    There are many sins involved in this story and we see God’s grace and forgiveness even in this Old Testament story. Tamar is one of the five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.
    May we always strive to live according to the will of God and be thankful for His grace when we fail.

- Larry Pasley serves as a minister with the Jackson Street Church of Christ in Alexandria, LA. He may be contacted through the congregation's website at

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