As humans we encounter many problems in our day to day lives and our instinct is to protect/preserve ourselves. This is what makes Christianity so challenging because the call of Christ goes directly against our natural human tendencies.
On February 28, 2019 I was on a day off from work and felt a bit out of shape since my last 5K road race left me sore, so I decided to go for an early morning run as I typically do to stay in shape. I got to a 4-way intersection on my way back home, made sure the road was clear of vehicular traffic then proceeded to cross the road.
The next thing I knew was a man riding a motorcycle ran into my back sending me flying through the air. I landed on my right side and sustained bruises to my right leg, hip and elbow, my smart phone was also destroyed in the process. I got up immediately to see the man complaining about how I ran out into the road without looking and that I destroyed his bike.
Now most people at this point would be cursing the motorcyclist for not, stopping at the stop sign, not being more careful and not recognizing that he could have killed me if he was going any faster. He seemed more worried about his bike than about my health at first. However, my reaction was not out of my natural human instinct to preserve or protect myself but rather out of a desire to obey God’s word and resolve the issue as quickly and as calmly as possible.
So, I expressed no animosity toward him being fully aware that it was an accident and he didn’t mean to hit me down. I offered to help him fix his bike and allowed him to leave it at my place while he went to work that day. After sorting out laundry at home and having breakfast, I freshened up and went to the police station to file a report then proceeded to the hospital to get my injuries checked out.
I told my closest friends and family about the incident and how I handled it. Many of them, even though are Christians, didn’t agree with me extending grace to the man who hit me down. They said I should have taken him straight to the police and I shouldn’t have said I would help him with his bike because he was wrong. He should be forking up money to cover my medical expenses and replace my USD$300 smart phone, and allowing him to know where I live was putting my life and my mom’s life in danger. But they never met the man in person. To them he was a total stranger and all I could hear coming from their mouths was fear of the unknown.
As much as it depends on me, my actions are always guided by the Word of God. So I felt no guilt for how I handled things even though my loved ones saw me as naïve and reckless. Below are a couple of the scriptures that came to mind as I spoke to the man who hit me down.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 7, NLT)
“When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew chapter 5, verses 25-26, NLT)
“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’. But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.” (Matthew chapter 5, verses 38-40, NLT)
“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew chapter 5, verses 43-45, NLT)
Grappling with faith
These scriptures fly in the face of human logic and even Christians who have been in the faith for some years now are still grappling with obedience to these commands that Jesus Christ himself gave. I don’t think of my fellow Christians as less than I am for I too grappled at one point with the issue of obedience vs. self-preservation, reliance on God vs. reliance on self and I still do somewhat, but I have come a far way in my growth.
I know we are all on this journey of sanctification and spiritual growth. I’m happy I made the choice to act out of love and not out of fear. My prayer is that more of us Christians will seek to settle our differences with compassion and understanding, recognizing that if we do we are putting a smile on God’s face.
Darren Salmon is a young man from Kingston, Jamaica where he read for his Bachelor of Science degree in BioTechnology at the University of West Indies. He became a follower of Jesus when he was 10 and has since developed a ministry of Christian Poetry for which he has gained a godly reputation. Darren is husband to the lovely Mrs. Kimberley Salmon (previously Morgan), another talented young writer with Christian Today. Darren is a joint 1st place recipient of the Tronson award for international young writers with Christian Today for the year 2019. To read Darren’s previous articles visit his weebly site at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/darren-salmon.html