Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Boreham and the Straight Stick

On a beautiful Sunday evening in midsummer, I walked through St James's Park, past Buckingham Palace, to hear Dr John A. Hutton at Westminster Chapel. It was the only occasion on which I ever enjoyed that privilege. His text was: ‘I judge no one ... but if I judge.’

His point was that the gentle and gracious souls who would never dream of criticizing us are the very people whose silent and unconscious condemnation is the most devastating. A straight stick, lying beside a crooked one, does not judge its twisted neighbor, yet its very straightness is the crooked stick's most terrible exposure.

Dr Hutton employed a homely but singularly effective illustration. A man sits grimly in a crowded tram whilst a girl stands near him, clutching at the strap. He mutters to himself that he has paid his fare just as she has, that he is probably quite as tired as she is, and that he is in every way entitled to his seat. She, of course, neither utters a word nor casts a glance in his direction. Yet her very presence makes him thoroughly miserable and covers him with shame. ‘I judge no one ... but if I judge.’

…It seems to vindicate the contention of Francis of Assisi, who held that he who lives a beautiful Christian life has no need to resort to words in order to rebuke the iniquities that disfigure the Church and the world around him.

F W Boreham, The Tide Comes In (London: The Epworth Press, 1958), 21-22.

Image: Straight and crooked sticks.