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A Tale of Two Brothers

Wurmbrand
Pastor Wurmbrand in prison

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was a Romanian pastor who spent 14 years in prison for his Christian activities. After he got out of prison, he and his wife, Sabina, started The Voice of the Martyrs.

In prison, Pastor Wurmbrand continued to tell people about Jesus. He told the following story to some of the inmates.

Pastor Wurmbrand’s Story
A long time ago there were two brothers. The older brother was good. The younger brother was rebellious, and he and his friends were part of a bad gang.

The older brother prayed for the younger brother, and he often begged him to change his ways. But the younger brother paid no attention.

One night the older brother sat in his room reading. The younger brother burst into his room. “Help me!” said the younger brother. “The police are after me! There has been a big fight and I have committed a crime!” There was blood and dirt all over the younger brother’s clothes.

“I will save you!” said the older brother. “Let’s change clothes.” The older brother put on the dirty, blood-stained clothes and gave his brother his own clean, white shirt and pants.

The brothers had just finished changing clothes when the police arrived. They had chased the younger brother from the fight and finally caught up with him. But as soon as they saw the older brother in dirty clothes, they arrested him, believing he was the criminal.

The police took the innocent brother in dirty clothes before a judge. He told the judge, “I take responsibility for the crime.” The judge had all the evidence he needed: the police report, the bloodstained clothes, and a confession. He sentenced the older brother to prison for life, and asked if he had anything to say.

“Yes,” said the innocent brother. “Please give my brother this letter.”

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Flames of Love

Richard Wurmbrand
Richard Wurmbrand

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, was imprisoned for a total of 14 years in communist Romania for spreading the gospel. He talked about winning persecutors to Christ.

Pastor Wurmbrand once said,

“Once when a house was on fire, a man threw a cup of water on it, only to see it burn to the ground. The man then said, ‘Water does not extinguish fire.’”

Pastor Wurmbrand continued, “That’s ridiculous! A cup of water does not quench it, but fire engines with water hoses do.

“The little love we have shown until now has not succeeded in bringing tormentors to Christ. Flames of love might very well succeed.

“The fact is, I was once a crucifier, till an encounter with God’s all-forgiving love changed me. If I can be transformed, others can too.

“I will dedicate my life to this.”

To Think About: How might someone show only “a little love” to unbelievers? Whose love changed Pastor Wurmbrand? What did Pastor Wurmbrand mean when he said, “Flames of love might very well succeed”?


Passing Through Deep Waters

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand of Romania, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, told the following story.

“Two friends took a walk along the shore of a river. One slipped and fell into the water. He began to yell, “Help! Help! I can’t swim!” His friend on shore answered, “You don’t have to shout like that. I don’t know how to swim either, but I don’t make as much noise about it as you do.”

Pastor Wurmbrand went on to say,

“We sometimes judge others harshly for their bad moods or rude behavior. We behave well, but could it be because we do not pass through the same deep waters as those who do not behave well?”

Pastor Wurmbrand practiced what he preached. He loved and prayed for people who invaded his country, police who arrested him for his faith, and guards who treated him rudely in prison. He led some of them to Christ.

To Discuss: What does the story about the man in the water mean? For what behavior was the man on shore judging the man in the water? Can you think of someone who does not behave well to pray for?

(Source: Reaching Toward the Heights, edited and paraphrased)


Complaining

Pastor Wurmbrand
Pastor Wurmbrand in prison for his faith

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs, told the following story:

“Two men were walking home together in bad weather. They had a long way to go. The blizzard was fierce, blowing snow and sleet in their faces and chilling them to the bone.

“One man muttered the whole way, “It is terrible! I can’t stand it anymore! Nobody could imagine anything worse than this!”

“The other man replied, “I can. Just imagine walking in such weather with someone who is complaining the entire time.”

Pastor Wurmbrand then compared the complaining man in the story with persecuted Christians who talk about how Christ suffered to save us instead of talking about their own struggles. “Their speech is not about the wounds they have, but about Christ,” Pastor Wurmbrand said.

To remind yourself to not complain, try making a wristband.


Freedom: Richard Wurmbrand

Wurmbrand
Pastor Wurmbrand in prison

On July 4th, the United States celebrates freedom and independence. Many people think freedom means not being under the control of other people or another country.

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand was in prison in communist Romania for 14 years because of his Christian activities. Most people would not think of prison as a place of freedom. But Pastor Wurmbrand realized that true freedom comes from obeying God and following Christ. He did not feel more or less free in or out of prison.

In prison, Pastor Wurmbrand thought, “It is not necessary to be at liberty to be pleasing to God. Which commandment could I keep better in freedom than in a prison cell? Why should I move around? The lily stays in the same place and exhales its perfume….I will not ask [God] to be freed.”

To Think About

  • What was Pastor Wurmbrand saying about the life of a Christian in his example about the lily?
  • Which was more important to Pastor Wurmbrand, getting out of prison or pleasing God?
  • What did Pastor Wurmbrand mean when he asked, “Which commandment could I keep better in freedom than in a prison cell?”

Note: After Pastor Wurmbrand got out of prison, he started the ministry that became The Voice of the Martyrs.