KidsView  | The Adventist Review for kids and those who always will be kids at heart | May 2017

Ready to Apologize

By Chantal Klingbeil

Meeting for church in someone’s kitchen may seem a bit strange, but this was the only place the little group of Sabbathkeepers had to meet in Topsham, Maine. Of course, Stockbridge Howland was never late for church, because his kitchen was used for the meetings. 

So you can imagine how surprised Ellen and James White were when they turned up for church one Sabbath and found that Brother Howland wasn’t there. Fortunately, they didn’t have long to wait. Soon Mr. Howland came in with a big smile and a great story.  

Mr. Howland told the group that he had noticed that a poor fisherman who had been attending the little kitchen church had not been there for the past few weeks. Mr. Howland had asked around and found that the fisherman had been feeling left out and believed Mr. Howland and others thought they were better than he was. This was not true, but it seemed true to the fisherman. 

So Mr. Howland went to the fisherman’s house. When the surprised man answered his door, Mr. Howland knelt before him and said: “My brother, forgive me. What is it that I have done?” The embarrassed fisherman tried to get Mr. Howland to stand up, and tried pulling him onto his feet. “No,” said Mr. Howland, “what have you against me?” 

“I have nothing against you.” 

“But you must have,” said Mr. Howland, “because once we could speak to one another, but now you do not speak to me at all. I want to know what is the matter.” 

“Get up, Brother Howland,” the fisherman said. 

“No,” said Mr. Howland, “I will not.” 

“Then I must get down,” the fisherman said, and he went to his knees. With both of them kneeling on the floor together, the fisherman confessed how childish he had been and how he had been spreading bad rumors. “And now,” he said, “I will put them all away.”

Just as Mr. Howland finished telling his story to the group in his kitchen, the door opened, and the fisherman and his family came in. The church service was extra-special that day, as Mr. Howland had shown that the stronger person is the one who is prepared to kneel first. 

—You can read this account in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 191, 192.