There is young man, in Africa, that I have helped raise from a small boy. He grew up very hard. When he was still very small he used to gather little bundles of sticks and sit by the side of the road to sell them. He was so cute that people would buy his bundles and then he would run home to his widowed mother with his little money so that he could help them have food for the evening.
Hanningtone, now seventeen, is a brilliant kid and works very hard at school. To encourage him I bought him a cell phone and it is his pride and joy. One day, when he was coming out of a weekend tutoring session near dusk, he was jumped by two bigger boys. One held a knife to his throat and demanded his cell phone. Hanny, scared for his life, handed it over. Heart broken, he came home.
I felt badly for Hanny. Hanny does not have much and what he has he really values. I just did not have funds to buy another phone though even though I wanted to. However, the next morning, as Hanny was going to the market, he saw the same boy walking with his phone on the side of the road. This was in public now and so Hanny shouted for the boy to stop, but he ran. Hanny is very good friends with almost everyone at the small market and so he flagged down some motorcycle taxi men and they started chasing the boy on motorbikes until Hanny and about four men ran him down.
In Kenya, you must understand, it is very dangerous to be a thief because mob justice is still practiced. Thieves are nearly always beaten to death or necklaced (a tire put around their neck and lit on fire.) Once Hanny retrieved his phone the men asked if Hanny wanted them to kill the boy. Hanny considered for a moment but said “no, I have my phone, it is enough. I don’t want his blood on my head.”
Overjoyed, Hanny returned home with the motorcycle taxi men and I gave each of them some money as a reward for helping Hanny retrieve his phone. Later that evening Hanny was looking worried and asked me “Did I do the right thing by not letting the men finish off the thief? I said “I am very proud of you because, though no noe would have blamed you if you thug suffer judgment, you chose to show mercy, and it is always good to let God judge those who wrong you and not take matters into your own hands.” “Besides,” I added, “showing mercy to this boy may one day lead to his salvation…who knows?”
May God richly bless Hanny throughout all his life. May his family and descendents be blessed and shown mercy because he chose to show mercy. I am very proud of him and I think he will mature into a fine man of God.