Saturday, August 13, 2005the problem with violence...
It's been a couple of weeks since we were out for our customary night of street preaching, so it was good to be back... that is, until we were back. The moment we arrived at the street corner where we usually set up, two young ladies walked by with barely any clothes on... they both gave us a dirty look when we offered them a Gospel tract. And right then, I knew it would be a long night. Believe me, I know exactly what Peter meant when he said of Lot:
"For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds." (2 Peter 2:8)
We evangelized the marketplace from 8:30 pm to midnight, and sadly, I must report that we left the place as messed up as when we arrived. Alot has happened tonight. The most significant was "old Rand taking one for the team". Yep, I got physically roughed up a bit tonight. One of the "regular drunks" in the market wasn't too impressed with my preaching so he decided to do something about it. He tried to destroy one of our Gospel signs and when I got in the way to stop him, well, my face got a taste of his fist.
Thankfully, the Lord did not allow for me to get too hurt. I was able to absorb much of the blow by swinging my head back, so no real damage was done. My pastor and brother Laz immediately showed up to my defense so no more blows could come my way. The poor drunk then warned us to not utter another word of "he would take us down". Well, my pastor would have none of that, so he started preaching. Furious, the drunk took a few swings at my pastor and that's when a man appeared out of nowhere and warned the drunk to take a hike or he would "take him out". The man was quite strong looking, so the drunk relented.
A few moments later, the police showed up and handcuffed the drunk. They wanted me to press charges so they could put the poor soul in jail for awhile, but I opted not to. You see, as street preachers, we will always have to deal with this drunk; there's no way the police would keep this man in jail for more than a couple of days (over a punch in the face). So we asked the police to warn the fellow to leave us alone, which they did. The end result: the drunk sat across the street from where we were preaching, begging for money, and left us in peace (Thank you, Lord).
One thing this event did though is signal me of my "problem with violence". By this, I do not mean "I do not like violence" (who does?), but rather, I seem to be incapable of dealing with violence. My pastor, on several occasions, found himself having to fight off someone, and in every instance, he has managed to either diffuse the situation, or at the very least, get through the situation with little damage. In my case, I always wind up not knowing what to do, being slow in my reactions. In other words, in the face of violence, I'm confused and unprepared. The Lord help me in this.
"Deliver me, O LORD, from the evil man: preserve me from the violent man" (Psalm 140:1)
After all this action, I had a conversation with a Fulun Dafa follower. Falun Dafa is a Buddhist type religion which involves meditations of the "Eastern religion" sort. It is heavily persecuted in China, so some of the followers of this religion spread news around to raise awareness. Anyway, I told him that while I hoped to see the day China accepted freedom of religion, I had no time for his religious nonsense. I gave him a Gospel of John and encouraged him to read it. He said he might "for educational purposes". Pray that the Lord save this man through His Word.
He tried to show me the merits of his faith by reading a paragraph from his religious booklet, but I stopped him in the middle of his first phrase. The phrase was something like: "The beneficial influence of kindhearted men..." Right there I said: "no such person".
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)
"They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:12)
I could tell (by his contenance) that that had shocked him. He kept repeating: "no, it can't be that bad", to which I responded: "it can and it is!" Again, pray that the Lord deal with that young man; that he would be delivered from the bondage of his false religion.
All and all, we passed a high number of Gospel literature tonight, which is good. But that being said, the attitudes are still terribly hard and hateful towards the God of the Bible, and us, His followers. What struck me in particular tonight is just how hard-hearted the women were. It's not uncommon to deal with a hard man, one who curses, mocks and scorns you to your face, but a woman, doing such things, well, I just haven't seen it happen to often. Until tonight that is.
In my experience, woman tend to be more tender, caring, and accepting... less proud and meeker than men. That's why it was so shocking to me to see dozens of women yelling profanity at me, blaspheming God with terrible words, and just their demeanor... I mean, HARD. I have to tell you, this female hardness is more grotesque than the male counterpart because, not only is it evil, it is unnaturally evil or uncommonly evil. Again, how true the Scriptures are:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men (and women) shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
Alright, that's my report "from the front". I'm tired now, so it's time for bed... goodnight fellow Christian soldiers.