Overcoming Evil with Good: Ministering to the Gangs in Haiti

In this presentation, Barry Grant offers a Scriptural basis for loving our enemies, combined with stories from his personal experience interacting with gangleaders in Haiti.

Theories of enemy-love are great over the coffee table, but is that the best way to prepare to rightly respond when a gun is on your forehead? What is the one tool the evil one uses to intimidate, which we can overcome by the power of God?

When God does a work in our life we would be unable to achieve on our own, humility is the result. This message is a call to walk in that humbly before God.

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Well, praise the Lord. Brother Dale said it very well. When we see somebody that doesn’t look like us, we tend to shy away from that. And it seems like this whole weekend, we’ve been hearing advice against that. We talk about reaching all nations. We talk about going out and making disciples. How many nations do we have here representing us? Are we doing our best at that? Or do we like each other so much that we just want to keep “just us” together. And when the odd man comes in, he doesn’t feel welcome. He doesn’t feel that love like we just heard.

Now, I’ll admit to you here this afternoon, that I am drawn more to the first part of the title of this message than the second part: “Overcoming Evil with Good.” And I’ll tell you why – because when I begin talking about ministering to the gangs in Haiti, too often we start to lift up this person. And can you imagine what that does to God? Now, I could spend the whole time here telling you about all my failures. I could spend the entire rest of the day talking about what I am without God, to try to prove to you that anything that I do that’s not terrible is of God! People ask me to come share my testimony. And I just want to say, “No.” We all need to have a testimony of salvation. We all need to have a testimony of God working in our lives. And it’s God working in our lives.

But I like speaking to young men. I know a lot of people say they feel like young men. I can’t say that I feel like a young man. I’m not any smarter than a young man, but I see brothers like Dale and other brothers here – older men, and I just can’t help but think about the day when they’re gone. And I hope it’s not for a long long time. But it’s going to happen – like we’ve already heard today. And then it’s going to be us. We are the future of the church. Maybe not all of us. Hopefully, all of us. What do we think about that responsibility? Do we take on that responsibility? Is it exciting to you? Or do you fear it? And plan to pass the buck as long as you can?

I think we all here want to be spiritual. I hope that we do. We all want to have a great relationship with God. We want God to use us. But I’ve found in my life that God will give us all that we want. It’s up to us. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. Do we believe that? We’ll get out of it what we put into it. For some of us, that may seem — well, we’re not going to get much out of it because we don’t put much into it.

It reminds me of a story of a boxer. There was a young boy that wanted to be a boxer. He was from New York City. When he was nine years old, he told his friends, “I want to be a boxer when I get older,” and his friends all laughed at him. He was shorter than his friends. He had some physical problems. They made fun of him. When he was nine years old, he made this statement: “Not only do I want to be a boxer, but I am going to become the world heavyweight champion.” (It’s a true story.) Well, that only intrigued the poking fun. He had a bad childhood. Everybody made fun of him. His father went to prison. His mother left him. But he had something in mind, and that was all that was important to him.

So when his friends would go out and do something, he would say, “No, I can’t afford to do that.” When he would sit down to eat, he would choose what to eat.” This vision that he had controlled his life. It was what was important to him. And it didn’t take long for people to realize that this really is important to this young man. He’s never going to become that. He should stop trying to pretend that he’s somebody that he’s not. But we can’t argue that he really really thinks he’s going to become the heavyweight champion of the world. And we can tell that by his actions, not just by what he says. And young people, at 19 years old, he stepped into the ring with a man twice his size. The man was making fun of him prior to this. And in three seconds, that young man won that fight. And he won the next 19 fights that he fought. And he became the youngest heavy-weight champion in the world.

Now, I’m not supporting sports in any way, in any fashion. I only tell you that story to tell you this: What can we do with God? When we set our vision on the crown, what can we NOT do? We can achieve whatever God would have us to achieve if we just put our focus on there, and stop compromising for the things of this world. Fashions and all that’s trying to creep in – we just need to say “No,” and prove that we’re really serious about Jesus Christ.

Have we made salvation too easy?

This is a burden of mine. Have we made salvation too easy? I want us to know that in the Old Testament, the children of Israel had a Law to follow. Do this; do not do this. I want us to know that they didn’t need God. They didn’t need God; they needed the Law. Do this, and thou shalt live. Do this and thou shalt die. And that’s what they had to govern them. But when Jesus came, it didn’t take Jesus very long to raise the bar to a level that we cannot possibly achieve without God. Is that not true?”

We’re talking about overcoming evil with good, and this is one of those things that Jesus Christ introduced. It takes supernatural power to walk with Jesus. Do we believe that today? We can’t just choose to do it, and continue doing things our way, because without Jesus Christ, we cannot live up to these expectations. We can talk about them, and they can make us feel good, but we can’t actually do them. And because we’re not confident of how we will respond to evil, we avoid evil. Because we’re not confident of how we will respond to evil, we avoid evil.

In Luke 6, starting at verse 22:

  1. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
  2. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
  3. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
  4. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
  5. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
  6. But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
  7. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
  8. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
  9. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
  10. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
  11. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
  12. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.
  13. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
  14. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
  15. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Now when we read those verses, they make us feel good, but is it a reality in our life? Do we have the power of God that proves that we can do these things? Or is it just some verses in the Bible that are “out there somewhere”? We have to remember something: it’s not us!  We already heard this today. It’s not us. It’s God. I want you to know something. When God does something in us that we can’t do on our own, that produces humility. It produces humility. When we do something that WE do, and God did not do, that produces pride. So that’s why it’s very important to understand who is doing what. When it’s something that men without God cannot do, then it is God!

Let me use an illustration. If I’m up here trying to move this pulpit, and I can’t move it, and you’re all watching me. You see that I cannot do it. I want to do it; I’m trying to do it, but I can’t do it. So I ask for help. “I need somebody to help me move this pulpit.” And somebody comes up to help me. Now I should be able to do something that I couldn’t do prior. And it’s not me that did it, but the one that came up and helped me.

I’ll tell you a story about a time shortly after I was converted. I was at a university preaching. There was a man there – (You know, when we think of Haiti, we think of demon possession; we think of witchcraft; we think of all these things. But I’m telling you, they’re right here in America as well. We just haven’t looked for them.)  But I was preaching, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye this man that did not seem to be happy. And I watched him. And he was getting madder and madder at the Gospel being preached. All of the sudden he was out of my sight. I didn’t know where he went. And quickly there he was behind me, and he punched me from behind and hit me right in the nose. Then he threw me to the ground, and began to punch. Now I want you to know something. Before I was converted, I was a fighter. I got belts and martial arts and the marine corps, but I didn’t think of any of those things. I can honestly testify that as that man was punching, I was thinking about the love that I felt towards him. And do you know why I was thinking that? Because it surprised me! This is not me! This is not me! My flesh would love to get up and pummel this man. But I’m not thinking those thoughts. I’m only thinking about the fact that I feel love toward this man. That’s humbling!

Pretty soon several police officers showed up. The man ran off, and the policemen came up to me and they said, “We need a description of who this was,” and I said, “This isn’t between me and him. I’m fine if you just forget about everything, and we’ll go about our day.” Because I truly believed that – it wasn’t between that man and me. When we step into the battle, there’s someone waiting for us there. And we’re going to come into conflict with evil, when we step into the battle – wherever you’re at.

Well, the policemen went away, and I continued to preach. A few minutes later they walked up with this man. And I could see the police talking to this man, and they told this man, “You assaulted him and there were a lot of witnesses. But in the state of Ohio, if he chooses not to press charges, we can’t do anything. We feel like you need to be arrested and taken to jail for assault, but we can’t. We just want you to know that.” And the policemen left.

It wasn’t long before that man came up to me, and he said he was sorry.

I believe he had seen something that he never had seen before. And it wasn’t me that he saw! Do we believe that today? He saw something that he hadn’t seen before. Maybe he [had/hadn’t?] been to church. Maybe he had some sort of background. That’s what happens when we live out what Jesus is saying.

Just this week I was speaking with a pastor, and he had quite a background in different churches, evangelical churches, but he was on fire talking about the King James and this and that — and we agreed on several things. Then after a long wild talk, he began to tell me how 8 years ago a drunk driver killed his son in a car wreck, and how he’s doing fairly well.

And all I could think of was, “How does he respond to the man that did this?” I had to ask him, and he said, “The drunk driver got eight years in prison, and he’s going to be released this month.” I said, “Can I ask you, sir, how do you feel towards that man?” Do you know why I asked that? Because I like to hear about people that are using the power of God. It strengthens me! That this man can bury a son and forgive the man that killed him, because that takes the power of God! It does! We can say we forgive, but when we really truly forgive someone, that’s God!

He said, “Brother, I gotta be honest with you. I can’t forgive him. I can’t forgive him.” And he acted like that was ok. “I want to forgive him; I’d like to forgive him; but I just can’t.” And that’s what’s accepted in our world today, and it’s simply a form of Christianity without any power. Can you imagine the power of him going back to him and loving him? We see it – we read about those things.

I want to read a few verses in 1 John. 1 John 4:17-19:

  1. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
  2. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
  3. We love him, because he first loved us.

Do we believe those verses today? Perfect love casts out fear.

I marvel at this because we think of perfect love as something different – or I’ve heard that too many times – that love means that we don’t communicate; love means that we talk slowly and softly. And the world doesn’t connect with that. There are people out there that want us to tell them how it is. They want to hear it. We cannot minister without love, like Brother Dale was saying. Without love, this is all foolishness. But is calling people to repentance love? Absolutely! When we see people that are not converted, when we see a gangster, we have to look past their evil. Why do we do that? Because we expect them to be evil, do we not?

I know we live in a country where we want everyone to be good. We want to stop abortion. We want to stop this and stop that, and we forget that the world is evil. That’s what they are. We can’t expect the world to try to live like Christians. We need to expect them to live just as they are – heathen, wicked, however you want to say it. We shouldn’t expect the world, especially people that worship Satan, to treat us well. We should expect them to not treat us well. They don’t know Jesus.

There was a gang leader in Haiti who sent me word, a couple of years after we moved to Haiti. He said, “I calculated the cost of your funeral to be $5000. If you give me $5000, you don’t have to worry about your funeral. But if you don’t give me $5000 you’re going to spend it on your funeral anyway.” That was clever. But he forgot something. I look forward to my funeral. He said he was coming back for the money. When he came back, I wasn’t home. Nobody was at home. But a neighbor that knew about this situation knew that the police were looking for this particular man. The neighbor called the police, and the police came and shot him dead right at our gate.

There were a lot of people that were happy about that. But how does it make us feel? I still question why it happened that way. What would have happened if I could have talked to that man? If I could have expressed to him that we’re not like other people.  – Or, are we?

We don’t choose what evil comes our way. But when we enter the battle, we expect evil to come. The gangs came. I didn’t ask for that in Haiti. When you look up Haiti on the news, you’ll see a lot about gangs.  Hard Factor (?) [News] talked about gang activity in Haiti. So it just seemed like common sense to me that if you’re a missionary in Haiti, you’re going to probably have to deal with gangs. The gangs came, and the gangs did what gangs do. They terrorize with fear tactics. They threaten to kill. They do kill.

But we have to remember something. We could be them. We could be them. Do we believe that? I know it’s very hard to imagine, but just imagine if you were born in an alley in Port au Prince, Haiti, and your mother didn’t want you, and you grew up on the streets. Have you ever wondered why you were born where you were born, and why you had the opportunities that you did? Maybe someone has a better answer than I, but as I think of myself and the history that I’ve had in my past, I could be there. And that creates a love for them. And since perfect love casts out fear, it goes hand in hand because we can’t love them AND fear them.

The leader of that gang was a vicious man. (I’ll just be honest. I was kind of excited to work with these gangs. I’ve been called a fool for this. I’ve been called a lot of names for that. And I don’t know why, but I saw it as a ministry.) This leader threatened; he had demands; but he saw something in me that came from God, and that is a lack of fear. They have to respect somebody that does not fear them. They control people, just like an animal, with fear. It’s the way it is. So I began to build relationships with them. I knew that was the ticket to getting into their lives, gaining trust, building a relationship. (And that takes time and energy that a lot of us don’t have. We fill our schedules, and we don’t have time to build relationships with people that we want to win to the Lord. That’s why we have FEW from the outside amongst us.)

But out front there on the road, there were two men that were shot by a gang, and it was right in front of us there, and so I decided I want to see what happened here. So I went to this leader, and I said, “Last night, the two men that got shot out here, what happened?” He got a little nervous, and he said, “They offended some of my people.” I said, “What do you mean they offended some of your people?” He said, “Actually, one of them slapped one of my guys right across the face, and you don’t do that!” I said, “So you killed him?” He said, “That’s right.” It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around that! All I could think about was the verses that we have just read. This is more natural what he’s talking about – when someone slaps you and you are highly offended. I want to know – how many people in here have had someone walk up to you and just slap you right across the face? And if that has happened to you, it would be interesting to know how you responded to that. I trust that you responded well. But without God you did not respond well.

So I told this gangster that. He’s a very large man. (He was just arrested two weeks ago and put in prison. He’ll probably never see the light of day again.) But I told him, “Listen. Jesus Christ can give you the power to actually love the man that slapped him.” He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “Just picture this,” and I lifted my hand up. I said, “Just picture this. I slap you right across the face, and you possess the power that causes you to be able to love me.” And just me going in motion like this, got this man to rise up. He went right to my head and he said, “If you slap me — dead!”

But I believe that! I’ve experienced that. The power of God in our life that causes us to LOVE someone that hates us. To overcome evil with good is the testimony today that people are waiting for, and they’re watching!

Teaching the pastor training course there at CAM, we were teaching on this topic for the week – overcoming evil with good, nonresistance, loving our enemies. And I really enjoyed it, but I didn’t even understand it. But one night I got a call, and the gang was very unhappy with me for some reason, which is very common. So I drove over there to them, and they were very upset with me. I tried to just talk to them, tried to calm them down. (It’s not uncommon at all for them to pull a gun and shoot and ask questions later.) But I was trying to get these people to understand the truth of what they’re upset about. And they began to escalate. One of them ran to get his gun. And one said, “You’d better leave now, because if he gets back before you’re gone, you are dead man.” And I didn’t want to leave that way, because I didn’t know if that would be the end of my work there. I couldn’t leave. They began to push me onto the ground. I eventually got in my truck and left, and they threw rocks as I was leaving. They were just in their little compound there – their little area. There was nobody around.

Or so I thought. The next day in class a pastor stood up. He said, “I want to tell you what I saw yesterday. I want everyone to know that this isn’t just something that he’s saying; he actually lives it.” (I remember who I was without God.)

But people are watching us. And you may think, “When’s the next time I’m going to be in that situation?” And maybe you never will be, but there will be a situation that you’re in, where somebody’s watching you. Watching how you react to someone that talks to you. Maybe it’s a child in the back seat watching how you react when someone pulls out in front of you. Simple things. And we often say, “We don’t know how we’ll react if someone does this to me.” Yes, we do! I argue that. Because if you can’t handle it when someone pulls out in front of you on the highway with your air conditioning on, you’re not going to handle it well when there’s a gun in your face. I believe that to be true.

Then we got robbed one day. (Like I say, I don’t want — If anyone here is going to start trying to think anything of me, I’ll stop talking. I really really prayed and debated whether to say anything about Haiti, to be honest. But I’m trusting you.)  – when we got robbed at gun point, and everything was taken, and it was a vicious vicious robbery. A lot of shooting! It was over; the Lord watched over us.

But a few weeks later I got a call from a man. He said, “I’m the one that robbed you.” (This is how God works. Things happen for reasons. We believe that!)  He said, “I want more money, and I know where you are.” I said, “Well, I’m glad you know where I’m at because I’ve been wanting to talk to you. You can take whatever you want, but I won’t give you any more money.” Now, there are people that think that’s not the right approach. “Give to him that asketh.” And maybe I’m wrong. But I said, “I want to give you something that’s far greater than money. And I just want to talk to you. Come over, so we can talk.” And it wasn’t long before this man told me, “I want something better than money. This thing that you talk about –”  (and we talked several times.) He asked, “This thing that you talk about – is it real? I want to know. Is it real?”

I believe there are so many other people that have the same question. And I’ll be honest. There are probably people sitting in here right now that have that question: “Is it real?”

It’s real! Brothers, it’s real!

We must have confidence in God’s sovereign will for our life.

Do we have confidence in that? Brother Zach showed us pictures of those missionaries that were killed. Do you think that they thought it was God’s will? I don’t know. But do you think that God used that situation? Was their sacrifice of their life worth it in the perspective of the Kingdom of God or eternity?  But when we think of our lives – we hold our lives too precious. We do. We’ve got it all figured out. We can actually go and do whatever we want. We can choose what color of paint to paint our houses, we choose what we want on our hamburgers.

Do we take the sovereign will of God for our life seriously? Maybe it’s His will that we do die like we heard about this afternoon. Are we ready for that and excited about that? Are we willing to be a living sacrifice? I think it’s important, because if we’re not willing to do that, we’re not going to be able to do what we’re talking about. Because when you’re worried about your life, it’s very difficult to stand in the face of evil and overcome it with good. It’s very difficult.

I tell you all these stories – there was a time when a gangster – it was like God was showing me. I couldn’t find love for him. He had done something to my family, and I battled with that thing all through the night, and I had evil thoughts. But God was able to bring me to a place where I began to love him.

We got it to the point with these gangs that we would meet, and we’d have a service every other Friday. Oh, what a tremendous opportunity! We actually had a building maybe this size, maybe a little smaller than this, where we had our first meeting, and there were hundreds of gangsters there. I wish you could have been there to see that. As soon as I began to preach, a man walked in with a gun and just paced back and forth in front of me. And people were wondering what was going to happen. But because of the power of God, the message was preached long that day. There were tears shed in the faces of these gangsters. I’m telling you what, if you experience that, it makes everything worth it. They have no hope without God. Do we believe it?

At one of those meetings, I was there and waiting for people to come. I was sitting beside two gang leaders, and I was kind of talking to myself – the one right beside me was a hothead and I didn’t trust him at all. He was their killer. He was the one they’d send out to shoot. I just held my Bible up and I said, “It’s such an amazing thing that this Book is more powerful than any gun.” I said it with a smile on my face. I don’t know if I would have said that if I would have known that he had a gun with him. But he pulled out his gun, and he said, “I don’t believe you.”

Now, when you come to the crossroads, where reality is going to set in, where our faith is going to be tried, we’re going to find out if what we say is what we believe. You know, in America we can say whatever we want. We can. We can preach sermons for years. We can listen to sermons for years. But I’m telling you, when you come to the crossroads, that’s what builds our faith. And you can’t find those crossroads when you’re sitting in your easy chairs – very often. But when you’re out working, you come to those crossroads. And God is always faithful!

A few weeks later that man pulled a gun on me again, and this time he was going to shoot me. He was certain of it. And another leader looked at him, and said, “Not here. Not here.” And I can testify here today that I was at peace with that. I have a family of children, but I believe in the sovereign will of God, and that God is in control, and if God sees that it’s best that I be shot down in the street in some Haitian village, then I’m ok with that. And that God is big enough to take care of my family.  And people don’t understand that. They call me a fool. But I really believe it!

It’s exciting to me. It’s the battle. And if you don’t fight, you can’t win. And if you don’t win, you can’t have faith. And if you don’t have faith, you don’t have a relationship. You have defeat. And once you live in this defeat for so long, you believe it’s the only way to go. You believe that it’s all that there is. It’s just reality. We’re a defeated people. When we go back to the altar many times, do we find the power there at the altar? And if we don’t find the power there, we’re doing something wrong.

There was another story I’ll share here, about a gang leader that was feared, a vicious man. And I was somewhat waiting for him to show up. He did one day. He wasn’t very nice (which we expected, right?) We were gathering. We were having a meeting there – us missionaries with our children. And they approached, and they shot into our group. I knew we had something on our hands that was maybe a little different than what I had been used to. I’m not sure how much of this story to tell, but he was simply going to kill till he got what he wanted. He didn’t fear anybody. He locked our compound. I didn’t tell anybody about this there. I didn’t want to invoke fear. He locked our compound and said, “Tomorrow morning, if I don’t have $150,000, you’re all dead.” He told me that over the phone. So I went to where they hang out to try to talk to him, and it didn’t go well. I just told him, “I’m sorry, but I can’t give you that.” They took the motor bike I was on, and I went back to the compound. He went back with me and let me back in. 

I just remember thinking, “Do we believe that God is in charge of this situation?” I was thinking to myself, “Do I believe that God is in charge? Or do I believe that this man can do something that God will not allow?” That’s the question we need to ask ourselves. And I came to a resolute conclusion that God was in charge; He was in control. And if it was God’s will that he come and burn the compound down, then so be it.

The night ticked on, and he called me, and he said, “Where’s the money?” I said, “I told you I’m not going to give you the money.” He said, “I maybe spoke a little too soon on the $150,000, and I realize that’s a lot of money. But if you would give me $100,000, that will work.” I said, “I’m sorry. I can’t.” He got super mad and swore and cussed and hung up the phone. About exactly an hour later, he called back. “Fine, fine, fine. $75,000 and this thing is over.” I said, “Listen, I’m not going to give you $75,000. I’m not going to give you any amount of money, but if you come and unlock our gate, I’ll come and talk with you, and I’ll sit with you, and I’ll listen to you; I want a relationship with you. I want to hear your heart. I want to help you.”

But no, he wasn’t interested in that. He was interested in money. He kept calling all through that night, until he was down to “Barry, give me one food box, and I’ll unlock your gate.” Now, I’ve been called a fool many times, but just think in your mind, what would have happened if I would have given him that food box. I don’t know. Maybe you know something I don’t, and you probably do. But I told him, “I can’t. I can’t.” I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t struggle a bit. I’m not going to lie and say [that I didn’t ask myself] “Why can’t I do it?” But I’m going to tell you this. I believe that God was saying, “No.”

The next morning came. I rose early and went out. The gate was unlocked. About 9:00 he called me, “Hey, how are you doing?” I said, “I’m doing good.” I said, “I noticed you didn’t come this morning.” “Oh, I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have acted that way. I’m sorry. Can you forgive me?” I said, “Absolutely!” He said, “But you did say that you’d come talk to me, didn’t you?”

Now, I’ve seen the wicked side of this man, very personally. He was trying to steal land there, and I went out and told him and I said, “Do you realize that God owns this land?” He said, “If God owns this land, tell God to come down here, and I’ll cut off His head.” But now he seems to be different this morning. He says, “You said you’d come talk to me.” So I said, “Yes, I’ll be there at 1:15.” I was getting ready to go, and a couple of the other missionaries there said they wanted to come, so three of us went. I went to his house there, a little shack. He and his cousin were sitting there. I preached. I’m going to tell you, I preached a hard message to him that day, and I’m going to tell you too, that it was out of love. LOVE for this man! A passion that he would turn his life around! I told him what he needed to do, that he needed to forget about this life. I said, “You’re a gangster; you kill people, but it’s just a matter of time before someone’s going to come here and kill you, and you can’t control that. But one thing you can control is where you’ll go after you die.” And I explained to him that that’s how I cannot fear him, because I’m ready to go; I want to go if it be God’s will. I do believe in eternity. And to a man that has never had anybody love him — he sat there with his head in his hands.

I said, “Can I ask you a question? Will you let me come here on Fridays and hold a church service right here?” He looks at me with big eyes. “Yes! The only problem is, this area will be too small. I can get everyone to come,” he said. I said, “Ok, you pick a place, and Friday we’ll meet, and we’ll have a service, and I’ll preach.” And he was excited about it, and his cousin there was excited about it. I can’t tell you the joy that I felt for this opportunity that came from simply returning evil with good – an opportunity that wouldn’t have come another way. 

But as we were there talking, I didn’t know it, but two men came with the purpose to kill that man. They saw us sitting there talking, so they waited. They waited until we left, and then – two men were executed. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand it.

A lot of things happened in the last year that I don’t understand. But I do know one thing. God understands it. We’re not called to understand it. And I need help with that. I want to understand! But we’re simply called to do what Jesus tells us to do. We’re simply called to return evil with good and let God do the rest. Maybe it doesn’t turn out like we think. Maybe it turns out different.

But this that I’m talking about is the warfare that’s raging. It’s the warfare that God is waiting on soldiers to enter. And although I have a lot of questions, I have some answers as well. When we submit to the will of God, and we love our enemies, it brings peace. Knowing that despite what other people are saying about you, despite what other people feel about you, knowing that you’re doing what God has called you to do brings peace.

And we have to believe, young men – we have to believe that God has a calling for you. We love each other. We love our brothers. God forbid that I actually love those gangsters and I can’t love my brother. Let’s pursue it with everything that we have! With everything we have!  We’re going to need to say “No” to some desires to look like a certain way; we’re going to have to say “No” to some fashion. We’re going to have to put on the identity of Jesus Christ, and accept that, like Brother John D. said today.

Real quick, in closing, I’ll tell you a story about that identity. My wife came from a Baptist home. They don’t cover their heads. She never covered her head. So after we got converted, she didn’t cover her head. We didn’t really think about it. It was just something we didn’t do. The people we were with didn’t do it. But when we started meeting the Anabaptist people that wore the veiling, we soon realized that we connect with these people – there in Allen County. [We realized] “We connect with these people on a spiritual level, but for some reason, this covering seems to be separating us.”  Listen to this. We fought that thing – for what reason? I don’t know. The only thing I can say today is that we wanted to fit into the world. We wanted to go into Walmart and not have everybody look at us. We wanted to be able to go to her family’s get-togethers and not look strange or weird. But I’m going to tell you something. After fasting and praying about it, we decided to begin to wear a veiling. Just that simple. But it changed our lives forever, because it identified us with the people of God. Maybe that seems trivial to you, but it was not for us. We couldn’t hide it anymore. We walked into the room when everybody was staring. And from that point on, it was really easy to identify with Christians; the egg had broken open.

So if you are here today, and you want to ride that fence. You want a little bit of the world in you so that you can fit in with the world, I’m telling you there’s no peace there. And once you cross over and put on the identity of Jesus Christ in whatever fashion that is for you, oh, you’ll never regret it! It is amazing! The peace! O praise God! It adds accountability to your life. So many things!

So God bless you! I believe in you. And let’s pray for each other.