Tuesday, November 23, 2010

how i learned about radical forgiveness from an orphan

Forgiveness is a hard thing to give - a lot of times for most people.
Jesus was all about radical forgiveness. i want to be about that kind of radical forgiveness too. Forgiveness no matter what. i wonder if i could forgive someone who screwed me over BIG TIME. i got a lesson in radical forgiveness from an unexpected source.

This is Nyaga. he is an orphan we have sponsored through Compassion International since 2007. We've always known he was an orphan because Compassion told us, but we never knew what happened to his parents.

Crystal and I got to meet Nyaga this September and you can read about that HERE. We heard the story about how his mother died when he was about 2-3 years old. His oldest brother tried to take her to a hospital a couple hours away but it was too late. Japhet, his oldest brother became "dad" to all the kids (including Nyaga) when he was only 20.

We found out that his Dad had just got up and left some time before that day. never came back. never communicated with them.
just gone.
dead for all they knew.

so, when Nyaga's mom died he was an orphan. no mom, no dad.

Well, Nyaga's dad heard that Crystal and I were coming to visit and probably heard we were bringing lots of gifts, etc... so he showed up. after 7 years he just waltzed right back into his village... into his family's land. All day he just kept his distance from everyone, didn't say a word to anyone... just watched. he looked like he may have been drunk.

This made Crystal and I SO ANGRY! i seriously wanted to walk up to him, grab him, and shake him + shout (probably through my angry tears) "WHAT KIND OF MAN ARE YOU!?!? How could you ditch your family like that?!" how could a man leave his poor defenseless family?

He knew that his wife had died too. He just left his oldest son Japhet to step up and be the man for all the kids. Japhet had to put his life on hold. he never finished school. he has a wife and kid of his own now... not to mention 4 little brothers and sisters that are like his kids. He works his butt off for this "inherited kids" and they all live on about $7 a month!
$7 a month!? 
"You left all your kids without a parent to live on $7 a month!?!?"

i felt like it was righteous anger that was rising up in me making me want to punch this guy in the face. but then something happened.

i was randomly videoing Nyaga as we gave him a bag of candy. Then he started to share it with everyone around which i thought was pretty cool so i kept videoing.
Then something happened that i totally didn't expect. Just watch for yourself.

(fyi - Nyaga's dad is the man sitting by himself way off to the right by the trees.)

that's powerful.

i was absolutely shocked. i couldn't believe what i just witnessed.
if i were Nyaga there is no way i'm sharing my candy - this prized commodity i just received for once in my life - with the man who pretty much ruined my life.

i mean orphaning your own kids is pretty much the worst thing i can imagine. when you get screwed over like that then it would really take RADICAL forgiveness.

i probably fought back tears when i witnessed that moment. my heart melted. it completely changed my heart and my thoughts about what i could/would/SHOULD do in a similar situation.

later Crystal and i were talking about how angry we were at his dad for having the audacity to even show up. then we talked about how if Nyaga can forgive him then surely we can forgive him too.

then i got to thinking that if Nyaga can forgive his dad then surely i can forgive anyone who ever does anything to me.
but where does that kind of radical forgiveness come from? how can someone even do that?

i'm convinced it's just Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate Radical Forgiver. He started it. He asks us to follow by turning the other cheek. pretty radical.
without Jesus i have no idea where this radical forgiveness could come from? it's hard enough with Him.

1 comment:

thesawhooks said...

Wow Patrick! This is an awesome and humbling story! Thanks for sharing....