Rough Four Days, But an Easy Eternity

On saturday I went to the market and paid two boys to carry stuff for me. right in front of me, one hit the other and took his money and his 2 apricots. I broke them up, and he gave it back, but the other boy was crying and crying, because as soon as his protector left (me) he was going to get smacked around again.

On sunday, while we parked the van and I got ready to bring it in the gate, we saw a boy, who is the most respectful and kind to us of all the kids on the street, back slap then come back and slap a little girl in correction. He is about 7, she is about 3 or 4

We loan out our extra hose, and it doesn’t come back for days. someone else wants to borrow it, and I tell them that sew-and-sew has it. They say that sew-and-sew won’t give it to them, that I need to go take it back. When I go over there to take it back, it is rolled up and put away in the shed, and they won’t share it with other people. I took it back, and loaned it to the other lady. She said, “they’re evil, don’t loan it to them, I’ll bring it back when I’m done with it tomorrow.” and it has been gone for a week.

We gave a neighbor a photo album months ago with pictures in it, but it was only half full. on sunday we gave his daughter some pictures to put in that album, as well as 3 more albums and 3 more copies of pictures for the 3 girls that were with her in the pictures. I clearly told her that the 3 albums were for them, and she should put her pics in her old album. Later that day one of the friends came and was complaining to me that she needed an album and would I give her one. I told
her I gave the neighbor’s daughter one for her. “She didn’t give me one! You give me one!” “I did!” I said “Go talk to her.” this conversation went like this for about 5 rounds. I told her to go talk to the other girl.

Yesterday my wife was walking down the street and some boys were playing soccer. they stopped for a minute when she approached. She hesitated to be sure they were waiting. She began to walk through them and the youngest boy looked at her, scooted back and kicked the soccer ball. It flew right straight at her and slammed her in the face. She had mud in her mouth and on her face and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, she was so shocked. the boys stood there and stared, as did their mothers. No one said anything or approached her. She walked on and by the time she got to her friends house she was in tears.

Last night I was lying in bed wondering about all of these things. I knew that I needed God to do something in me, because my old habits were roaring back into my mind. I nailed a guy in the face with a snowball from 3 feet once. I spit in my best friend’s face (punishable under Jewish law with 400 days wages!) I’ve slandered my bosses to the president of the university and caused all kinds of trouble in my anger.

So what does God have for me today?

“For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.”
(1Cor 4:9-13 NIV)

Many days I say to my wife that if we were from this neighborhood, these kids would not disrespect us like this. Why? because the men in this neighborhood would beat the snot out of any kid that did to them the things these kids do to us.

So is it right to be walked all over? At this point, I think it is.

Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. (Proverbs 16:19 NIV)

The men here that have power and are externally respected share the plunder with the proud. they have the power to rule because they powered it out of the weak.

If I wanted to I could go find soccer boy, take him to his mother or father, and shame them in front of the whole neighborhood. Then he would get the snot beat out of him. He may get hit by his own father to the point of bleeding. I don’t see how that is different then me going and doing it myself if I go and make it happen. His father would just be my hand.

As I was about to go to sleep last night, I thought about how Jesus handled mockery and abuse. And then I realized that if that little boy doesn’t come into friendship with Jesus, that little boy is going to suffer more than Jesus did-for all eternity.

I don’t want my wife’s honor or pride avenged. I really don’t. I would rather the boy put that vengeance on the One that already took it for him. How many more people have to suffer eternal wrath because their eyes have been blinded by the god of this age, and their hearts have been hardened by a fallen world?

  • Greg Brown

    Your experiences caused me two immediate reactions.
    Actual physical suffering is so foreign to us in the industrialized west. We still put people in their “place,” demean them, avenge their wrongs. We just use more compicated social and verbal forms instead of direct physical aggresion. And it causes us to believe that we are more different than we are. Unless the heart changes…

    The other was that authors from the Catholic church and the two-thirds world seem to have a far deeper understanding of what it means to not just tolerate but actualy celebrate the sharing of Christ’s suffering. I have found great wisdom there.

    I will be praying for you, your wife, and your children. Thank you for being willing and available to live out the Gospel in the midst of little ones who need it so badly.
    peace

  • Julia Lee

    Hi there – I just love reading your emails & log – they just open my eyes so much.

    I love the verse that talks about being strong by being weak. I think it applies to your day (maybe even the week!) Hope this finds you being “weak” so that you may be strong, and know that many are praying for you & your family.

    -thanks Julia!-ds

  • Rick Underhill

    Sullivan’s
    I love you guys. It encourages me to be in the information loop about your adventure. Thank you for your life.

    Nothing comes into your life that doesn’t first come through Jesus to get to you. In fact Jesus is in you, you are in Jesus and Jesus is in the Father! He knows where you are, and you are secure. When you get it all said, He loves us. Bet your life on it. Stake your future on it. Put everything you hold dear in His hands, and relax and know that He means you good.

    I am asking for His favor and peace upon your family. Press on brother, continuing to make Him know by your lives. We miss you.

    Colossians 3:1-4, John 14:20, Hosea 6:3
    See God’s favor described in Exodus 11:1-3, 12:31-36