Our mission house in the North West Province of South Africa was burgled. Thieves knew our newly arrived missionaries from the United States were out of the house for the night. They broke down doors and took what did not belong to them. They took their time and cooked food from the freezer, ate banana loaf baked by our missionaries with care and they even took a swim, littering as they went. These actions were boldly defiant. They broke one particular locked cabinet, knowing that laptops were there, indicating an intimate knowledge of the house. They went on a spree, stealing TV sets and taking irreplaceable items such as a ring once belonging to a grandmother and a cherished wedding ring. The thieves deliberately violated private space and then wrote these words on the kitchen white board, “Welcome to Africa.”
I am ashamed of these people, fellow Africans, who take what is not theirs and who violate God’s law of love and honor.
What to do Lord? What to do when people mistreat us so? These were words I silently prayed as we flew over snow-capped mountains with the sun appearing in the east. How do we respond when our boundaries are violated and hurt sets in like rot?
“Pray for those who spitefully use you”.
A whisper in my soul. So quiet. I listen.
“Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also.”
The silence of sacrifice.
“Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.”
A leading to love.
These are hard words. Very hard words. These test our character to the core.
“Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High.”
When people mistreat you, the most important part before anything else is done is to remember whose you are.
When you pray for those who spitefully use you, when you forgive, when you love, when you give, there is no loss in this hard thing. Only gain.
Your reward will be great
you will be children of the Most High.
I am so proud of Nelson and Leslie Koon for their exemplary attitude. This same scripture was whispered to them in the middle of this chaos and they have embraced the leading of the Holy Spirit to the fullest. They lean in toward God’s calling on their life during times of trial, not away from. They know that calling and serving is never cheap but costly. They know the enemy of their soul will try to derail them so they turn to their Most High father and embrace his ways. They do not retaliate in anger, in bitterness and revenge. Instead they have chosen to be “thankful, grateful, blessed.” For this the scripture says their reward will be great.