Farida before the Magistrate

Dieselfde in Afrikaans beskikbaar

Farida’s husband died when she was 42 years old leaving her with a small sum of money, the motor-car and 5 children – of which 4 were still at school. Farida tried by whatever means to keep her children fed and to meet the cost of their education. Her family could not help very much due to their own commitments.

Farida often worked into the night catering for weddings and parties. One day she was late with her delivery and went up a one-way street trying to make it on time. Before her nerves could settle she heard the familiar sound of sirens and was pulled over to the side of the road. The traffic officer discovered that Farida did not have a valid driver’s license. She explained her circumstances, but the officer warned that she was guilty of a serious offence, and that he would have to issue a summons.

Since she did not have the R 900 to pay the fine and was too embarrassed to ask her family, Farida went to court hoping that the Magistrate would have sympathy on her. He listened carefully as she explained how her children would sometimes eat only rice for 3 or 4 days, and how she could seldom pay the bills at the end of every month. The Magistrate explained that he was employed to enforce justice and since she admitted to the offence he had no option other than to find her guilty.  The Law demanded a minimum fine of R 500, or alternatively 2 months in prison. Straight away Farida was taken down to the holding cells where she could either pay the fine or wait to serve her sentence.

As Farida sat sobbing and wondering where she might possibly borrow the money (and if she managed to get it – how she could ever be able to pay it back) she saw her Magistrate come through the gate to the fines office. She pretended not to see him, wanting to blame him for her predicament, but knowing in her heart that he had no choice. How can a government maintain justice if a Magistrate could let people off just because he felt sorry for them? And doesn’t he hear the same sorry story from at least 20 people every day?

She then prayed quiety with her eyes closed. A few minutes later a friendly policeman came to Farida and said politely: “Madam, you are free to go.”

“But I don’t have any money” she answered.

“Madam,” the policeman explained, “the Magistrate has just paid your fine out of his own pocket.”


As you think about this story – about the significance of what happened to Farida – and how this Magistrate managed to enforce justice and show mercy and compassion at the same time – consider that the story you have just read is actually a parable about God’s love for us – which explains why it was necessary for Jesus to die for us on the cross.

Like Farida before the Magistrate, we will one day stand before the Almighty and plead guilty – because, no matter how good we have been, how hard we have tried, or how good our excuses are, we have all deliberately sinned and come short of His glory.  His justice demands that he should punish us –“because the consequence of sin is death”. But his love and mercy moved him to do that awesome thing – to take our punishment upon Himself, and pay for our sin, so that we may go free.

If you believe this, and are ready to gratefully receive His mercy, you can pray this simple prayer: “Almighty, now I know how much you love me, and I accept the price you paid for my freedom. I love you, too, and look forward to the day that you will accept me into your kingdom.”

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