Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Saturday I bought my own bike back, it was a pretty cool experience, living out Luke 6.
"To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
While waiting in the long lines at the bank. A couple thieves stole my securely locked bike just 15 feet from armed guards. Life in Chile is usually normal, but defies common sense at times.
When I realized it had been stolen it I immediately... was angry.. and then prayed that God would work in the lives of the thieves. Then I told the cops of the incident, which felt like wasting my time. A week later a bike suspiciously similar to mine appeared on a eBay-like website in Chile, for the same price I had bought if for in December. I made the purchase online and arranged to meet with the individual.
I gave it the normal test ride and bargained him down a bit. After paying him for the bike I let him know that it was absolutely my bike. He offered to give me my money back. Assuring me he did not know the bike was stolen when he bought it from his friend. He was lying and I was telling the truth. I told him that I forgive him and even though I had little reason to believe him, I would give him the benefit of the doubt. So I asked him return to me what would have been his profit from the sale. Then I shared the gospel with him, and with his little brother who accompanied him. And exhorted them to repent and live lives of self sacrifice not selfishness. I am praying for Cristian and Esteban. And plan to send him and email and or give him a call next weekend to see if he would like to get together to talk more about the extraordinary love of God.
God works according to His word, answers prayer and is in control, even when it feels like the world is evil and we suffer loss. This could not be any clearer; the cross screams these truths at us every day.
I am the only person alive who can tell that thief, "I forgive you for stealing from me." And show him the generous mercy of the King by paying him for my own possessions. And Jesus is the only one who can truly forgive his sin, and I am forever indebted to Him for paying for mine.