Inner City New York City

Why Didn't Jesus Hit People?

Image by Urh Kočar from Pixabay

As you read these words, Summer Missions — college student-interns serving America’s urban poor — is well under way, but the impact will continue.  That’s because of people like Sarah.

Sarah came from Columbia, South Carolina, to serve in New York City. Sarah had experience working with children — but what she discovered in Brooklyn shocked her.

A neighborhood church was operating a summer program for 20 children. They were wild — unruly — some displaying anger, animosity, even hatred. Punching: commonplace. Threats: every day.

Main instigator: Trevon, age 9, bigger than the others, clearly a leader. His favorite target: Casey. He not only delighted in picking on, teasing, and bullying Casey, but he also coaxed others to join him.

Sarah worked all week at developing a relationship with Trevon. Physical aggression, she pointed out, was not Trevon’s only option. She greeted Trevon with a daily hug. She focused on him with love and care.

But nothing seemed to get through, to curb the tantrums, the cursing, or the harassment.  At the park, on the last day, things hit bottom.

"Why didn’t He come down from the cross when people were dissing him?"

Sarah was deeply discouraged. But she leaned on God — and refused to give up.

Sarah and the group devoted their final Bible time with the children to a clear presentation of the Gospel story: what Jesus did to save us, and why.

And something clicked.

Trevon began firing questions: Why didn’t Jesus hit people? Why didn’t He come down from the cross when people were dissing him? Soon Trevon was answering his own questions, applying what he had heard — but seemingly missed — earlier in the week.

Until finally, he made a remarkable statement: “Maybe I shouldn’t hit Casey.”

When the issue of heaven came up, and Trevon said he wanted to go there, an hour-long discussion ensued ... and ultimately he prayed with Sarah, opening his heart to the Lord!

At that moment, Trevon seemed to have a peace that Sarah had never seen in him. And as that final day came to an end, Sarah saw something she could not have imagined: there were Trevon and Casey, playing a video game together.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

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