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by Shari Weigerstorfer
11/17/2015 / Womens Interest
I was in the middle of the old town in Rhodes, Greece, shopping for worthless trinkets when I suddenly witnessed something that affected me deeply.
A little girl about four years old lost her grip on the stroller she was pushing. It tipped backward and hit the pavement. Thankfully, her sibling was strapped in tight, and he didn't budge during the descent or the impact. What happened next, I will never forget.
The father, who was walking nearby, yelled something in Greek or Turkish. He then backhanded his daughter with full force. I stood there, stunned, watching it happen. The little girl didn't cry, but she stood silent as her father adjusted the stroller. Then they progressed down the street. I sensed she was used to this kind of treatment. As they walked, he suddenly stopped and hit her again, knocking her to the ground. She slowly picked herself up and quietly followed behind.
I was enraged. Never before having witnessed this type of violence, I was unsure how to act, so I watched, and internally I pleaded, Lord! What do I do?
I looked around and realized that I was a lone woman in the back streets of a Greek city. Confronting this hostile man and interfering in a family affair probably wouldn't be wise. I noticed that shop owners and locals also just stood and staredone man shook his head, but then they simply returned to their work. Not one of them said a word, and neither did I.
I continued shopping, still greatly disturbed. Lord, what should I have done? I was sure there was something I could have done, but I didn't know what. An angry outburst from me would have just fuelled the fire that obviously already consumed the man. As I thought about it, I started to get a sense of what Jesus would have done, and it's something I can do, too.
I believe Jesus' teaching in Matthew 5:39 alludes to the appropriate response to this type of situation. "But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. (NASB)"
I'm sure I don't understand all that Jesus was trying to teach in this statement, but knowing Jesus, it must have had something to do with stopping violence rather than encouraging it.
Next time, I won't stand there wondering. I will interfere with the gentle statement: "Hit me. Hit me instead."
I realize I may get belted for my efforts. Hopefully, instead, it will be such an unexpected act that it will stop the aggression. It's a risk I'm willing to take. If I could go back in time, I would much rather have been hit than to have seen that little girl hit again, as I stood by and did nothing. Next time, maybe a peaceful and sacrificial response on my part will break the cycle of violence.
God created the word compassion, and it's an action word. We are to be His hands, and an extension of His character and care.
If we will not, what good are we?
Shari Weigerstorfer is a free-lance Christian writer, native to the West Coast of America. When not indulging in her passion for travel, she writes from her home in Singapore. Other articles by Shari can be found on her site at Faithwriters.com
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