Intolerable cruelty

8 05 2011

Africais not for sissies.  What is really important to you? 

There are an abundance of clichés that bombard the brain – almost daily.  I do find that I am forced to confront important issues about life numerous times a day. That is just howAfricais.

I write this post just after returning from a walk where again things forced me to contemplate.  I tried to put actions to the issues but it seems as if the actions of one person simply cannot undo centuries of ingrained cruelty (at least that is my perception.)

A friend has asked me to get some cat food inKampala– I first walked to locate her house before lugging 4kg of Friskies along the pot-holed streets to deliver them.  As I was walking along there were 5 or 6 little boys who looked to be terrorizing a calf of about 3 months old. This poor beast was trying to run to and fro, away from them, but then he was caught between them and could not escape. They started beating the animal with sticks around the ankles, on the back… and I could not be quiet.  I called to them to stop beating the animal (he was being swatted relentlessly) and they said that he had butted them.  (this calf is at most 5 months old, has no horns and could not do much more than tickle the knee-caps).  I told them not to be hard on the animals. Other pedestrians sniggered and a few ladies said, rather half-heartedly, “do not beat.”

The calf managed to get away and scuttled down the road with one little boy in hot pursuit. More adults now showed their actions: there were jolly laughs and a few comments in Lugisu while I was cheering in my heart: “Run,Forest, Run!”. 

At this time I needed to ask directions so missed out on a bit of the action, but when I headed down the lane again the boys were dragging the cow by an ear each, pushing it with sticks and forcing it along. There was no rope in sight, no sign of consideration.  I tried to point out to the boys – would they like somebody to pull them by their ears; or beat them along? But then I realized that that is probably what they are used to.

I tried to move the beast in a gentle way but he was so hot and tired that that was not successful at all.. I realized that I would not get a thing right so I carried on going.

My walk was consumed with questions for which I have no heart-peace answers yet.  It is obvious that cruelty of an intolerable level is the norm in so many parts of this country.  From a little girl (of 2) who was dumped in the chicken run for a week by her father because his new wife found her tiresome  to an 86 year old lady who tries to exist on the $1,50 a month she earns from breaking up rocks six days  week, to the main presidential opposition who was tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed so that he was hospitalized for a week… The newspapers reveal stories that wrench my heart.  If those are the ones that make it to press, what of the millions of daily incidents which occur which form patterns of behaviour that generations will continue?

The main question that plagues me is what am I to do here, with all this cruelty?  One of the verses that has resounded in my heart for many years is “God’s kindness leads to repentance.” (Rom 2:4) Beth Moore challenged ladies across the world last year with Prov 31: 26  – “On her tongue is the law of kindness”.  The refrains of the modern chorus echo through my mind like an earworm :”everyone needs compassion; the kindness of a Saviour”.

The experience with neighbours in the last year seemed to show that kindness is not reciprocated with consideration.  It seemed that there more evil was heaped on gentleness.  I am now hesitant to show kindness where even here kindness is taken advantage of.

So the questions of the day deal with cruelty, kindness and how to live like a gentle Saviour to a world that seems bent on malice. I sometimes catch a glimpse of the Redeemer, mocked by vicious torment.  Still He showed compassion.  I see Him beaten and torn.  “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing. “

I wish that they WOULD start to know what they are doing… but I see that love will redeem and kindness will slowly break apart hardened lands, like a gentle plant emerging through toughened clay.  The tree may yet grow.  As long as the seeds are sown.

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2 responses

14 05 2011
Gill

Thanks for your words and thoughts and sharing of the realities! Your words have touched and even challenged me! God Bless you in the place where He has allowed you to be, for His purpose! With much love in Christ, Gill

14 05 2011
Allan Sutherland

You’ve got me weeping Karen, this is such a sermon!

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