According to the Scriptures, Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One of these thieves is by tradition known as Dismas. He is commonly called the “Good Thief” or “the Wise Thief” or probably more appropriately, “the Penitent Thief.” He is the one, who in a single thrust of clarity cried out to Jesus and requested, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus graciously responded to him, “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”
Our organization has chosen the name Dismas as a reflection of our core values and what the “good thief” teaches us today. What do we learn from that brief exchange between Jesus and Dismas on the cross?
1. That all lives are sacred. Every life matters. To many Dismas was a nuisance to eliminate. But to Jesus, he was a man to love and forgive.
2. That it is never too late. While there is life, there is hope. It is possible to change!
3. That God’s grace is available to all. We believe that all of us are offenders. Dismas reached out for a grace that had eluded him his entire life. However, in his greatest time of need, grace was there to usher him into God’s Kingdom.
The words of an old orthodox hymn express the compelling need to apply the message of Dismas to our own lives: “The Wise Thief didst Thou make worthy of Paradise, in a single moment, O Lord. By the wood of thy Cross illumine me as well, and save me.”
It is our prayer that you will join us in the spirit of Dismas by seeing that all people are God’s creation made in his image, by extending compassion to those who have done wrong, and by sharing the message of hope that comes from the cross of Jesus Christ!