A SMILE WITHOUT LIPS


Instead of doing what I was supposed to do I decided to take the afternoon of, lay down on the grass, enjoy the sun and give my brain and soul some good reality shots! I started reading the best book I have read this year –The Hole In our Gospel – Topic of the chapter “Spiders, spiders and more spiders” and it starts quoting Martin Luther King JR

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”

After some pages I get to read one of the most socking stories I have ever read in my life. “A smile without lips”. I will copy the story here, all the right and all the words are from Richard Stearns, author of the book. It tells Margaret’s story. She is from Northern Uganda and was brutally attracted by the Rebel Lord´s Resistance Army LRA (did you know about them??? I did not. Now, I can´t ignore this reality any more).

“One day Margaret, six months pregnant, was working in her garden with several other women when rebels – a group of child soldiers led by an adult LRA commander – emerged from the bush. They had come to steal food and other supplies. But stealing was not enough, and they attached the women, literally hacking Margaret’s friends to death with machetes while she watched. But as they approached Margaret to do the same, the commander noticed that she was pregnant. Believing it would bring bad luck to murder a pregnant woman, he instructed his child soldiers to not kill her. Instead, he gave the order to cut off her ears, nose, and lips and leave her to die; that way, he reasoned, her subsequent death would not be on their hands. So they carried out the unthinkable and left Margaret maimed and bleeding to death.

But Margaret was found and rushed to a hospital for treatment. Remarkably, she survived and three months later gave birth to a son, James. She and James were then brought to World Vision’s Children of War Center, where she received trauma counseling, support, and, later, skills training as a seamstress. Margaret, traumatized and permanently disfigured, was trying to rebuild her life and be a mother to her child… Margaret’s story seems beyond comprehension. There is nothing in our frame of reference that allows us to understand such brutality. What happened next can only be understood through the miracle of God’s love- as a demonstration of the incredible power of the gospel to redeem even the darkest kinds of evil.

One day, months after her son’s birth, Margaret saw the commander who had given the order to maim her, arriving at the same rehabilitation center. He had been captured and had also been sent for counseling and rehabilitation. In great distress, she frantically told one of her counselors that she had to leave immediately, that she could not be near him, and that she wanted to kill him. In response, the man was moved to a different rehab center several kilometers away. But Margaret’s anxiety remained.

World Vision counselors began working with this man. At first he denied that he had committed the atrocities. They worked, too, with Margaret, trying to lessen her anxiety and exploring the possibility of forgiveness. After weeks had passed, the man confessed to his involvement in Margaret’s attack, even as she worked through her own fears and anger. Finally, a meeting was arranged. The man asked Margaret to forgive him. And Margaret, reaching deeply into the source of all forgiveness – Jesus Christ- forgave. Here again was the power of the gospel to redeem and restore, and to meet evil and turn it back. On the wall of the Children of War Center are photographs of that day- Margaret and this man who had mutilated her.

He is holding little James in his arms as she stands next to them- smiling without lips.”

Yes, I know. This story literally socked me. It brings all the words I thought I could never use in the same sentence: Pain, injustice, anger, tears, fears, forgiveness, restoration, joy, similes and it could be summarized in MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!.

I am speechless! and if you know me in person you know that is not normal for me. But I though sharing the story was something I had to do. I will write a more personal inside on this in the next post but till then I pray that our minds, hearts and ears can be open to the Lord´s calling to stop injustice. I pray that He can help us understand the needs of others, and instead of blaming God for thinks like this we can join Him on his work of restoration and His loving but firm declared fight to injustice and oppression.

“In the midst of war, true evil abounds; unspeakable atrocities are committed; brutality is endemic. War is never benign. But war is more than just an impersonal term that we can brush aside at will. It has a face – and it is human.” Richard Stearns

One thought on “A SMILE WITHOUT LIPS

  1. I simply must tell you that you have written an excellent and unique article that I really enjoyed reading. Im fascinated by how well you laid out your material and presented your views. Thank you.

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