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We Are As We Love

Sloan illustrates the truth that "we are as we love" and that we sometimes must "accept pain in the service of love."

An old man in India sat down in the shade of an ancient banyan tree. Its roots stretched far into the swamp.

Presently he discerned a small commotion where the roots entered the water. Concentrating his attention, he saw that a scorpion had become helplessly entangled in the roots.

Pulling himself to his feet, he made his way carefully along the tops of the roots until he came to the place where the scorpion was trapped.
He reached down to extricate it. But each time he touched the scorpion, it would lash his hand with its tail, stinging him painfully.

Finally his hand was so swollen he could no longer close his fingers, so he withdrew to the shade of the tree to wait for the swelling to go down.

As he arrived at the trunk, he saw a young man standing above him on the road laughing at him. "You're a fool," said the young man, "wasting your time trying to help a scorpion that can only do you harm."

The old man replied: "Simply because it is in the nature of the scorpion to sting, should I give up my nature, which is to save?"


William Sloane Coffin, former senior pastor at Riverside Church, New York City.

Author information was updated as of the article's post date. Author profiles may not reflect author's current employment or location.

Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa ( via Flickr. Used by permission.

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