by John Finegan

The greatest compassion of all

begging for food

"Njala, Njala" (Hunger, Hunger), she pleaded to me through the car window.

I was sitting in a car parked in Blantyre, Malawi. As usual many had come to me begging for money or food; it was now getting quite tiresome. How could I help all those people? Clearly most were not needing help either!

In the door mirror I could see an older woman approaching. She set her vending basket full of vegetables for sale on the ground behind the car. Swinging a young girl up onto her back she swiftly tied the child in place with her chitenje (wrap around cloth), the way all Malawian women can do so skilfully.

To my surprise and horror the woman began to strongly pinch the child's legs making the little girl cry loudly, tears were soon running down the child's face.

The woman then came forward to my window, held out her open hands, and in a weak and pathetic voice repeatedly said "Njala, Njala."

Pointing to the mirror, I told the woman that I had seen her hurting the child so that she could deceive me.

She became very angry and began to shout abuse at me, demanding money. Her face became dark with rage.

Does this cruelty happen often? Yes, and not just in Malawi. I have seen many children, some disabled, abused by those who are stronger, and it is always to get gain through another's suffering. This is truly wrong, it goes against all that our Creator made us for.

Today I was reading in my Bible, in Acts chapter 16. Wicked men were keeping a demon possessed slave girl. Since she could tell fortunes and the future through the spirits, she was valuable to her cruel owners. Two men were preaching the Gospel about Jesus Christ in that town of Philippi. Paul and Silas exorcised this evil spirit so that the girl was set free from it's demonic control.

Her owners became furious because their profit was now gone! Even the authorities in the town had Paul and Silas severely beaten and thrown into the local prison.

Has society changed in the past 2000 years? Sadly, not at all. We human beings are desperately wicked in our hearts, and will do anything to gain. We lie, cheat, insult, hurt, even maim and kill, just to get gain. Some will do these things openly. The rest of us, thinking we are better, do these very same things in secret.

Think carefully and deeply about this verse from the Bible, which is God's Word to us. It is found in Romans, chapter 5 verse 8.

"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Jesus Christ was willing to be severely tortured and die by crucifixion. He took all our sin and wrong upon himself and bore God's full punishment for all sin for all of us.

He could do this because he, being God himself living in a human body, is pure and without any sin, nor can he ever sin. To confirm that he completed this amazing salvation, he raised himself from the dead.

He came into this world and paid the full terrible price for my sin, with his own blood. He did this because he loved me, and that, when I was still his enemy and wilfully sinning against him. I have accepted that he did this for me, and that I owe him my life. I trust him to save me from the punishment for my own sin, and I now serve and am devoted to him.

Reader, did he do this for you? Or, are you the only person in this world that was left outside of his love? How have you treated the God-Man who did this for you—because he loves you too?

<< Faith like a child
Minister back on track >>