May our joy be fulfilled in Him who gives us life. Amen.
It seems that almost every day someone urges us to start a lawsuit. They don't like it when we politely decline. Very few people see any power in enduring offenses. They want to strike out, rather than suffer. Everybody hates to suffer, and so do I. But suffering is effective. Hearts are softened when people suffer. Through our suffering, others see the injustice being done.
Our Lord Jesus could have called ten thousand angels to rescue Him from the cross. But He chose to suffer.
Gandhi, who was trained as a lawyer, could have "thrown the book" at the British. But he chose to suffer.
There is a brave young family who has just suffered greatly at the hands of the State of South Carolina. Police seized the three children and took the Dad to jail. The cause - the home lacked electricity. Can you believe it? Think of the pioneers who settled this country who did not have electricity. Yet, the State used the home's lack of electricity as an excuse to grab the children and haul Frank Lewis to jail. Instead of becoming angry, he decided to suffer.
It all started when social workers, accompanied by the police, approach Frank Lewis's home. They have no warrant. Apparently, a neighbor complained that the Lewis family had no electricity or running water.
Frank, a member of the Embassy of Heaven Church, remains on the porch and calmly tells the police they have no jurisdiction. Frank refuses to let them inside. Police threaten to break down the door and after about 30 minutes, Frank's wife, Angie, finally opens the door. The police rush into the house. Their three children are hauled away above the Mother's protests. Frank declines to answer their questions and is dragged to jail.
Angie calls the newspapers and tells them that the State has seized her children. Meanwhile, Frank fasts in jail and may die. Newspapers and television stations give the story extensive coverage.
After ten days, a family court judge rules that the police did not have probable cause to take the children away and the family is reunited. A spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union said police violated the couple's civil rights.
"Had they followed the Constitution, this family would have been spared the trauma the state has put them through," ACLU director Steven Bates said. "If their religion forbids them from suing the state, then Anderson County is probably lucky."
Lawyers were saying we have "a heck of a lawsuit." We even had lawyers willing to help the family for free.
Even though we have a major cause, we will not push a lawsuit. Many people don't understand why. Our Example hung on the Cross. And He said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34) We also make the same statement. We forgive all those in South Carolina for their trespass because they know not what they do. They seized jurisdiction where they had none. They violated chain of command. They did not have delegation of authority over the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet, we forgive them all.
Frank Lewis spent eight days fasting in jail. Did his suffering do any good? We believe Frank's suffering opened the door for people to hear the Gospel. One reporter commented on how Frank's jail fast brought the community into unison. Everyone seemed to be coming to the defense of the Lewis's, saying, "this is wrong."
After the ordeal, Frank commented, "It is tremendous. Our neighbors are asking questions about the Church, and people from across town have come over here asking about what we are doing. People we have never seen before are suddenly interested."
It was required of Frank to lay his life down in jail, even if it meant losing his children. But there was victory through his suffering. No, he did not win any financial settlements. He gained something money cannot buy. People woke up. They saw the wrong being done. Like Frank said, "Jesus won."
Paul Revere, Pastor