I was halfway out into the intersection before I saw it. I had seen a news item on Facebook about a motorcycle thief being lynched at the intersection down the hill from my house, but I didn’t think the corpse would still be there this morning. But it was–I had to swerve to avoid it. As I did, I could see the man’s body was charred. His facial features were still recognizable but he had been hacked with a machete, burned alive, and left in the middle of a busy highway to make a statement.
This morning wasn’t the first time I had ever seen a lynching victim. When I was a teenager, I came across a boy about the same age as me on a back road. He had been accused of being a goat thief. He was lying on his back, staring up at the sky, and his eyes were still open. On another occasion, I awoke in the middle of the night to hear a crowd killing a man who had been caught breaking into someone’s house. The sound the crowd made was an eerie mixture of anger and glee. I’ll never forget it.
People here have very little sympathy for lynching victims. People who get lynched have been caught doing something they had no business doing. In a country in which so many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from, stealing someone else’s livelihood is an act of murder. Murderers get no sympathy.
I can understand the local point of view and even sympathize with it to a certain extent. Nevertheless, these incidents always make me incredibly sad. No one should ever die that way. At one point in his life, that young man in the intersection was someone’s baby. I also always wonder where the victim’s soul is. Facing the wrath of man is one thing, but facing the wrath of God is another. I always wonder whether the church could have done anything differently to reach these young men before they got to that point.
After leaving the intersection, I drove across town and spoke at a church, where I invited young people not much older than the victim to sign up for Saturday classes at the Bible college. I saw that young man’s face all through the service. The church had a beautiful new building and after the service, my colleague Gary and I were invited into the pastor’s air-conditioned office for cake. It blew my mind that this place of order and beauty could coexist with the piece of hell on earth a few miles away in the street.
I’m not telling this story to be lurid, or to color your perception of Haiti. I understand that in a country in which law enforcement is severely underfunded and the justice system is seen as hopelessly corrupt, lynching will continue to be a part of life. If the conditions were the same in the United States, Americans (or any other people) would probably do the same.
I share this story to remind myself and others why I do what I do. Together with my colleagues, I train young men and women in the Scriptures to be ministers of the Gospel. I take my work very seriously, because I know that the witness of our graduates likely will make the difference between eternal life and eternal death for young people like the one in the intersection this morning. Life is short, heaven and hell are real, and the Gospel is the only way to be saved from sin. If you would like to help us train more young people for the highest calling, see the information below.
Link for Giving: https://pushpay.com/g/tltglobalmissions?
Mail Checks to: The Lord’s Table / PO Box 11049 / Goldsboro, NC 27532 / (919) 751-8188 & please earmark your gift for Haiti.