The Man Who Saved His Enemy

Long, long ago in Holland lived a man who loved Jesus very much. His name was Dirk Willems. Many people who called themselves Christians did not obey God and love the Bible. But Dirk loved the Bible and wanted to do all that God told him to do. When Dirk was just a little baby, his parents took him to the big church and had him baptized. But Dirk was only a baby and did not know what the minister was doing. When Dirk grew up and became a Christian he wanted to be baptized. Dirk went to a friend's house. At this place where some other people had come to worship God, the minister poured water on Dirk's head and said, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Dirk was happy because he had obeyed the Word of God.

But the rulers of the land were very angry because Dirk had been baptized again. In their town were men whom they paid to catch thieves and other bad people. They called these men thief- catchers. Because Dirk had obeyed God's Word, these rulers told a thief-catcher to catch Dirk and bring him to the town.

It was a cold winter day. There was ice on the rivers and lakes of Holland. But at some places the ice was thin. Dirk ran across the fields through ice and frost. The thief-catcher ran after him. At last Dirk came to a river. He ran across the river on top of the ice. The thief-catcher came right after him.

Then, crash! The ice broke and the thief-catcher fell into the cold river water. Dirk looked around. There was his enemy trying to get out of the water. What should Dirk do? Should he run away and be safe? Then the thief-catcher would drown. But Dirk remembered Jesus. He remembered that Jesus told us to lover our enemies. Dirk wanted to obey Jesus.

Dirk went back across the ice, back to the hole where the thief-catcher was. He took the hands of his enemy in his and pulled him out of the water. He let Dirk go and told the town master what had happened. He begged the town master to save Dirk's life.

But the town master said, "You said you would catch Dirk."

Sometime afterwards the thief-catcher was sent again to get Dirk. This time he caught Dirk and brought him back to the town. They took Dirk to the town judges. The men asked Dirk, "Were you baptized again?" Dirk could not lie. He replied that he was baptized at Peter Willem's house.

They asked Dirk, "Did you have church in your house?"

Dirk could not lie. He said that he had had church in his house.

Then they asked him, "Did you let other people be baptized again at your house?"

Again Dirk answered, "Yes."

Then the men said, "The king of Holland does not want people to do these things. You must be punished. Then people will learn to obey the king. You must be burned with fire.

Dirk was not afraid to die for Jesus. As he stood there suffering for Jesus he prayed again and again to God. The wind carried his prayers far. Even the people in the town heard his prayers. Just before Dirk went to heaven, he asked God to take his soul. Then Dirk went to live with God forever. There he will always be happy.

This material was typed in by Dick Sullivan. Thanks a lot, Dick!

From Happy Life Stories
Third Grade Reading Lessons by Edna K. Wenger
© Christian Light Publications, Inc.
Leave a Comment
on this story or on the whole book. Thanks!

You may purchase Happy Life Stories from Anabaptist Bookstore:

[Anabaptists: The Web Page]

Return to children's index