Hard Choices

I recently reread Robert Louis Stevenson’s  novel Kidnapped and its sequel Catriona.  Stevenson himself is said to have believed that Catriona was his best story.

The part that I found most interesting was David Balfour’s struggle to do the right and honorable thing with reference to the murder charge against James Stuart, a man whom David knew to be innocent of that charge. A great clan war was in the offing, and David’s testimony would expose him to extreme danger and possible death, and it might also reignite a Scottish civil war.  Regardless of the danger, David did his utmost to save an innocent man.

I contrast David’s conduct to that of Scotland’s Judge Advocate, Preston Grange.  Preston was a good man, and he wanted to do the right thing.  However, he was firmly convinced that, innocent or not, James Stuart must be convicted and executed.  Failure do so would ignite civil strife throughout the Scottish highlands, probably resulting in the death of thousands of persons. When David Balfour told him the truth, he suppressed it.

Preston Grange’s reasoning reminds me of that of some Pharisees during Jesus’ time.  Guilty or not, they believed it best for Jesus to die rather than possibly agitate the Roman authorities and lead to even more Jewish deaths.

Hard choices.

In your heart you know what is right.

Choose the truth!

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