Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Loving Your Enemies

I didn't have a blog back in the days of the civil war here in Gondor. I didn't even have an internet connection. It is a shame because there were so many great stories that I have lost over the years. Yesterday I was talking to some friends and they reminded me of one of those 'lost' stories.

In 1997 the Government of Gondor signed a peace agreement with the Opposition whom they had fought with for five years. What this meant practically for us was that while previously all the fighting had been up in the mountains now all the factions could come down into the Capitol city and fight every night for a seat at the table of power. It was a very ugly time. Just outside of Minas Tirith there was a small town where three Opposition commanders and their troops settled down. Some friends of mine were living in this town trying to reach people there for Christ. Unknown to them at the time there was one believing family who lived there. They were holding meetings with their neighbors and one night three armed and masked men came into their meeting and said they would come back in one week's time. If any of these people were still here they would kill them. These guys were hard core Islamic Fundamentalists and no one doubted that they would do what they said. One week later the neighbors were gone but the one believing guy stayed there with his family. That night the three masked men came in with guns and told him he was going with them. He called into the next room and told his wife that he was going out with friends and would see her in the morning. The took him out to a trash dump that was a famous place for executions at the time. He knelt down and they told him he had one last chance to pray. He prayed. He prayed for his captors,for their forgiveness and for their salvation. They stopped him and said, 'What are you doing!? You can't pray like that!' He told them that as a follower of Jesus this is how he was taught to pray. They let him go and he went home.

A week later two of the three masked men were back and this time there were thirty men with them. They asked him how he knew what to do and he told them he didn't know what they were talking about. They said that a few days ago the Government forces had them pinned down against the river. They were sheltering behind a low wall and it was raining bullets down on them. They were being taken out one by one and knew they were finished. Then they saw the believing man walk right through the hail of bullets and up to the wall. He told them that the only way to be saved was to jump in the river. Two of them jumped and the rest perished. For the record, the river really rages through that point and I am sure I would not want to jump into it anytime much less at night.

The believer told them that he was not there but clearly an angel of God was. They asked him to share about God and he told them the Gospel. As far as we know just one man made a commitment to Jesus that night. Where the others are I have never heard. But I have two things to say about this story. One, it is interesting that God sent an angel in the likeness of this believing man. Apparently, he was the only one these guys knew that they could trust. So, praise God for his godly character and we must pray that we would face adversity with grace as well so the next time the Lord wants to use someone as an example of love He has someone to show them. Second, it never ceases to amaze me what God will do in order to reach us. Of course, it similarly amazes me what God must do in order to reach us. I mean, come on all that pain and death and sorrow just for one guy? And what was keeping the others bound? Strong delusion has a grip on the world. Pray it does not have a grip on you so that you will be free to act whenever God calls.

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