December 2012, Vol. 8, No. 8
Hanged Twice, Saved Once
Slowly he realized there was truth to what the believers had been telling him. This Jesus really did love everyone enough to die for their sins.
In a family of 12, there are bound to be disagreements, but Sahar’s family could always come together on one thing: religion.
Sahar’s parents had raised their 10 children with a strong devotion to their gods. As Sahar grew older, he became a fierce defender of his faith, especially opposing those who followed Jesus.
He fought with everyone who tried to tell him about Jesus and had a whole supply of arguments to use against them—but he never imagined he’d have to use the arguments with his own family.
When Sahar found out that his mother and younger brother had decided to follow Christ, he became furious. He did all he could to change their minds, but his words were meaningless to them. Neither one even wavered, and Sahar’s anger grew.
Unable to control his feelings of rage and despair, he tried hanging himself from a tree, but one of his siblings rescued him in the nick of time.
A Second Betrayal
Defeated, Sahar let life settle to a livable tension, but soon his wife, Yamura, began talking about Jesus too. She didn’t mention the Jesus-followers often, but when she did, Sahar firmly warned her against mingling with them.
Soon, though, she began sneaking out of the house to attend prayer meetings and worship services, unbeknownst to Sahar.
One day, Sahar walked into a neighbor’s home and found Yamura actually praying with the very people he had warned her against.
Without a word, he dragged her out of the house and began beating her without mercy. Then, leaving her half dead, he stormed home.
Some believers from the prayer meeting followed Sahar. When they caught up with him, they saw him dangling from the same tree where he had previously tried to hang himself. Before he could breathe his last, they pulled him down from the tree.
He Truly Saw Jesus
For the next year, the believers continued to tell Sahar about Christ’s love, but he remained adamant that he wanted nothing to do with it. When they invited him to watch a movie about Jesus, though, he went, grudgingly.
At first, Sahar watched the film as unflinchingly as a rock, but he slowly realized there was truth to what the believers had been telling him. This Jesus really did love everyone enough to die for their sins.
As the crucifixion scene played, tears rolled down Sahar’s face. And when the members of the film team told the crowd how they could follow Jesus, Sahar, Yamura and their three children were first in line. Together, the family embraced Jesus wholeheartedly.
Now, Sahar has stopped fighting, and the anger that consumed him is gone. Instead, he and his wife share their experience of grace with all their neighbors. They long for everyone in the village to know Jesus as they do.