Hostage Situation!
An important message for believers and non-believers alike!

I'd like to ask you to use your imagination for the next few minutes. Simply picture yourself in the situation below. This may seem silly to some of you, but for others the effect may be profound.

You're in a public building, we'll say it's a bank. As you're waiting in line, wondering how you're going to get all your errands done for the day, the doors to the bank burst open. As everyone whirls around to see what the commotion is, you see armed terrorists storming into the lobby of the bank, waving and pointing their weapons. Before anyone can react, the terrorists have disarmed the security guards, and blocked off all the exits. No one can get out.

The leader of the terrorists is a very handsome man, but you can see death in his eyes. You can tell that he would love nothing better than to have an excuse to kill each and every person in the bank, including yourself. His first words, however, seem completely at odds with your perception of him.

He looks around and says, "My name is Flurice, and I do not wish to harm any of you." His voice is very smooth and well-modulated. In the back of your mind you wonder if he has ever received vocal training. He continues, "Please do not be alarmed. You are all perfectly safe. As a matter of fact, I would like it very much if some of you would consider joining me." As he continues talking, you can tell he's lying, but looking around at the other hostages, you can see that many of them have visibly relaxed, and a few even seem to be considering his offer to join him. His smooth, even voice seems to have mesmerized them, and lulled them into a sense of security.

You glance out the window, and see that apparently someone has hit the silent alarm, because police and S.W.A.T. teams have arrived and have cordoned off the street and surrounded the bank. Flurice notices the arrival of the police also. His mood darkens suddenly, and he begins to pace back and forth like a jungle cat. "Well," he says, "this changes the situation. I'm afraid there may be casualties, after all. However, any that still wish to join me will receive special treatment." Something about the way he says "special treatment" seems ominous to you, and you shiver involuntarily. Others, however, seem oblivious to any ulterior meaning, and step forward to join him.

Flurice sees them coming to join him, and his face breaks into a large smile. Although the ones stepping forward don't seem to notice, his smile seems a bit too wide, and you can see a strange look in his eyes. This time his words confirm your fears. With a laugh, he exclaims, "Excellent! Come, my new friends, I have something I need you to do for me! You shall serve as the first examples to the police that I am serious, and not to be ignored!"

As the full meaning of his words sinks into those who have stepped forward, you see the realization of his intentions dawn in their eyes. They try to step back, but the other terrorists have come up behind them, preventing their escape. Flurice looks around at the rest of the hostages. "I must apologize to you all, but I may have misled you a little bit. You see, there's nothing I like better than killing." As he speaks, his sparkling eyes rove across the crowd and for the briefest instant rest upon you, sending another shiver down your spine. He continues, "While these fortunate souls who have stepped forward will be the first, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to kill you all!" With this he begins laughing maniacally.

As he laughs, out of the corner of your eye, you see that one of the exit doors has opened slightly, and the terrorist there seems to be speaking to someone outside. Then the terrorist steps aside and a man comes inside. There doesn't seem to be anything particularly special about this man. He is of average height and build, nothing stands out about his features, and yet, there's something about him that catches and keeps your attention. It doesn't even occur to you to wonder how he got past the police lines.

He steps inside and speaks. Even though his voice is soft, it seems to cut through the air like a sword. "Flurice," he says, "wait." When he hears the voice, Flurice spins around as if he's been slapped. He glares at the man and exclaims, "YOU!! How did you get in here?" It's obvious that Flurice knows this man, and loathes him with a deep hatred.

"It doesn't matter how I got in here," the man replies. "What's important is that I am here and I am the one you really want. I offer you an exchange. My life for the lives of these hostages."

Flurice seems incredulous. "Why? Why would you offer yourself for them like this? What are they to you?"

"It doesn't matter why," the man replies. "The important thing is that I am willing to let you kill me, if you will let them go."

Obviously, this offer is too tempting for Flurice to turn down. "Done!!" he cries. "Everyone out!" He looks at the other man and says, "I have been waiting for this for a very long time." The man doesn't reply.

As everyone files out the doors past this anonymous man, he stands silently, with a small smile on his face. As you begin to go past him, he catches your eye and begins to speak to you.

"You know," he says in a soft voice, "I just got engaged. We've already set the wedding date. It's not too far away. I wonder if you would do me a favor." Considering the fact that he has just saved your life, you figure that the very least you can do, is to do him this favor. You tell him that you would be happy and honored to do whatever he asks of you.

He continues, "It's a simple thing, really." He tells you his name and says, "Would you find my bride, and tell her that I love her?" You agree without hesitation, and walk out the door, into the bright afternoon sunshine.

As you stand there thinking that the breeze has never felt so good, or smelled so sweet, behind you, from the bank, you hear one agonized cry of pain, and then one gunshot, and you realize that the quiet stranger is dead. He is dead, and you are alive, and you begin to softly weep.

I'm a Christian.
What's the point of this story?
I'm not a Christian.
What's the point of this story?

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