A man is driving home one night from working late at the office. As he crosses a bridge out of the city, approaching the middle of the bridge, he sees a man standing on the edge, outside the safety barrier.
Smith is a religious man and a firm believer in doing right. He wonders if he can help; and he knows that he should try to save this man in distress. So he stops his car, and walks back to the fellow, who looks as if he is about to make the leap.
"Hello, my friend", says Smith as he gets to around three metres away from the jumper and stops. "You must be in terrible distress. Perhaps I can help you?" he says warmly.
"Keep back!" shouts the man. "You can't help me! It's too bad! It's too late!"
"My friend, I see you are in pain. But sometimes another can help. Tell me, are you a believer? In times like these, our chosen faith can often show us the way and provide comfort. Do you follow any faith my friend?"
"I can't tell you, I'm ashamed to be here", sobbed the man.
"Well", Smith replied, "The Koran tells us that we should not take our own lives, and we should place our trust in Allah. Are you a Muslim my friend?"
And as he speaks, he edges a little closer.
"No, that isn't my religion", the man sobs.
"Ah, the Torah tells us we should not take our own lives, and we should put our trust in others and the will of the Almighty. Are you of the Jewish faith my friend?"
"No, no, that isn't my church!" is the sad reply.
"Hmm, the Bible tells us we should not take our own lives, and we should trust in God and pray for guidance", Smith tried.
"Yes, I'm a Christian", the man sobbed.
"Well, that is great news!" Smith exclaimed from the heart. "So am I. Perhaps we can pray together, to ask for guidance in these hard times. Will you pray with me, my friend?"
"It won't do any good but if you insist!" the fellow cried back. "It's too late, it's much too late!"
"Well, my friend, I understand your pain, but God can heal all. Let us pray together."
So Smith recited a short prayer and toward the end, the other joined in and they prayed together.
"Well, my friend, I feel better, how about you?" joked Smith. "Tell me, what denomination do you belong to?" he enquired, and moved in a little.
"I'm a Protestant" said the man with difficulty, racked by sobs.
"That is good, my friend, very good - so am I" said Smith. "And tell me - what branch of the Protestant faith do you belong to?"
"I'm a Third-Day Salvationist actually" replied the man, who looked as if he was doing better.
"Good Lord! That's amazing! So am I", replied Smith, a wide smile on his face. "Let us ask the Lord together for guidance today", and they both observed silence for a few seconds, heads bowed.
Smith moved forward gently, a warm smile on his face as he recognised a brother who needed help. He was within arm's reach at last. The poor fellow had relaxed a little by now.
"Now tell me, I am with the First Convention Church - what is your Church my friend? Is it yours by chance?" asked Smith.
"No, no, I am with Pastor Jones of the First Day Tabernacle", the man replied.
"You are - what?" said Smith. "With - who?" he stuttered, his countenance changing.
His face changed suddenly into a mask of hate. He lunged forward, screaming "Die you heretic bastard!" and pushed the man off the bridge.
Many thanks to a3.cp