December 1, 2008

A Demonstration of Love...

Recently, Andy (another missionary here in Belém) and I visited a local Assemblies of God church. We were preparing for a team of statistician which are looking at the rapid growth of this denomination in Brazil. When we arrived, Andy and I were directed to sit up front with all the pastors and leadership of the church. While sitting up front and listening to announcements, one of the pastor leaned over to Andy and told him that he wanted to tell him his testimony. Andy told him he would love to hear it. So, instead of waiting till later, the man began to tell the tell during the announcements. I recount this and his testimony because it is one of the clearest views of Godly love and compassion I have every heard... and because it is true.

The story goes...
This young man and current associate-pastor was once a rabble-rouser. In his own words, he use go out and "do what men do." With a young wife at home, he would spends his nights with a bottle of alcohol, an another woman, and often using some illicit drug. The relationship between the two, I am sure was strained at best. One night, the young man came home extremely late (actually he came early the next morning). As he arrived, he was met at the door by his wife. He said, he knew that this was it... he was sure that she had had enough. So, he sat down and prepared for the worst. Rather than yelling or lashing out at the unfaithful man, this Christian wife simple ask one question and performed one act which changed this man life. She look at him and simply wanted to know when he was going to stop living life this way. Then she took off his shoes, which I am sure smelt of the previous evenings activities, and washed his feet. The young man said that this one act of love broke him and he began to weep. He then look at Andy and said, " look at me, I am a pastor."

This story is a beautiful example of how a Christian can love like Christ. This young woman would have been justified in her anger. The worldly would have cheered her on if she would have hurled household items at him. Many think she would have been right to leave him and move on to a healthier relationship. The way he chose to treat his wife incites within many of us anger and desire for revenge. However, she ignored all those nature responses. The lovely Christian woman chose to forgo her revenge and to love instead... and God chose to use this outpouring of love to call to salvation this young man. I know that this young lady's relationship with the Lord must have been and I am sure still is so beautiful and close... for you see, she saw her husband through the eyes of Christ.

Oh, that we, that I, would love this way. To love those who wrong me. To minister to those who hurt my family. To look through the circumstance and to see the person with the eyes of his or her creator.

I pray that this story affects you the way that it affected me... to make you realize the importance of Christian love especially to those who are lost and dying in their sins.