Right in the middle of gospel renewal training, a potentially deadly fight breaks out.
But that isn’t surprising. Often the advance of the gospel in the church and though out the world exposes hidden sin. That’s part of the power of the gospel.
Sin exposed presents an open door for old wounds and the Evil One to disrupt and try to discredit the work of God. And that’s what happened in this event as you will see.
In our location of ministry, many of the churches are ingrown and focus heavily on earning their way to God through their good works. Less than 1% of the population are evangelical Christians.
This year’s Grace Renewal Training brought together 60 adults and 20 kids from 6 different countries. The diverse group included long-time believers, local followers of Christ involved in full-time ministry, cross-cultural workers from other countries, and even some seekers.
And then – a knife fight started.
One afternoon, while I was in my room there was a knock on my door.
“John sent me to come get you. There has been a fight between Victor, Jorge, and Moe. Someone in the scuffle pulled a knife. Come quick,” said Wendy.
I quickly followed Wendy down to where the altercation occurred.
Victor is a new believer baptized last June, who has some psychological instability. Victor wanted to clean up the room where he and three other men were sleeping. In the process, he had taken Jorge’s clothes and suitcase outside, saying they smelled.
While Victor was still mopping and cleaning, Jorge (who was on crutches from a sprained ankle in a basketball game from the previous day) showed up.
“Who threw all of my stuff out in the parking lot?” Jorge asked, visibly upset.
Victor tensely replied, “You are messy as a pig and your things make the room smell bad.”
More insults were traded until Victor started pushing Jorge out of the room. While Jorge attempted to use his crutches to block Victor, Victor pulled a knife to threaten him. At this point, Moe showed up to find out what all of the shouting was about.
“How can you be attacking a man on crutches?” Moe yelled at Victor, as he put both hands around Victor’s throat to push him back into the room and into a chair.
John arrived at this time and separated all parties.
It was then that I showed up, followed immediately by two other guys from my team. We separated the three men and talked with them individually in order to get the story straight.
Through this altercation we were able to talk in depth with the men about conflict, forgiveness and repentance. We pointed them to Jesus and how He paid the price for our sins and gives us the power to forgive each other.
After dealing with the men, we went into our next session, which was “how to have conflict so that God is the winner.”
Wow! The repentance that flowed was truly a work of the Holy Spirit.
Two of the men confessed and asked forgiveness of each other in front of everyone at the meetings.
We experienced such a clear display of the work Jesus does to make us spiritually new.
Due to security concerns where this Serge leader serves, names have been changed.