Over the past two months, Holly and I have had 5 break-ins. One of which left us feeling very vulnerable with the message of “You Must Die” written on our wall outside. Fortunately, Josh was staying with us and heard the thieves in our attic and was able to scare them away.
The mastermind behind all of these incidences turned out to be our very good friend and person responsible to watching our house when we’re away. For nine months we had developed a close relationship with him and considered him a trusted friend. The most recent break in was on the day that Holly’s sister Tina arrived. We came home to notice that some of the bricks above our window were a slightly different color of blue. I also noticed that some plaster on the wall was broken and dust remained on the chair below. Someone had removed bricks, repainted them, and cemented them back in place. I went to the back of the house where I found freshly washed clothes. However, on one piece of our friend’s clothing I found a spot of blue paint. My stomach dropped, I wanted to cry. How could our friend have done this? Later that night he called us and confessed what he had been doing, and wanted a chance to make things right between us. The Lango words for reconciliation are “Roco Wat” which means being in “right relationship”.
Although angry, hurt, and a bit fearful, we tried our best to put into practice what we teach; reconciliation. We extended grace toward our friend and forgave him. Holly went to the Scriptures and read Matthew chapter five. Toward the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he talks about turning your other check, not resisting your enemies; that if you cloak is stolen, also offer your tunic, that if forced to walk a mile, walk two. We wanted to put these words into practice.
When one considers the tremendous injustices that our friend faces, being born into an incredibly poor family, having been abducted and forced to kill, Holly and I wanted to be a part of giving him “a way out”, and we decided to pay for one year of his education at an agricultural school. We have come to love our friend, and see a wonderful heart in him. It seems as if this is a critical time in his life where he could continue to make bad decisions, or turn his life around and live out of his talents and loveliness.
I know that forgiving him and even seemingly rewarding him may sound strange. But our faith doesn’t ask us to judge our enemies, it asks us to love and forgive them, over and over.