Joel of Jerusalem Dec/Jan 1970/1971
The Block Captain
We are praying every day that the Lord may bring peace, but we do not have too much confidence in the present so-called peace negotiations. We only hope that no Munich will be imposed upon us by big powers. Israel would rather fight to the last than to submit to a modern Hitler. Only the return of our Lord can save us from a disaster.
My children attend the Sabbath School together with some 15 other children of believers. They sing, pray and learn Scripture, and enjoy it ever so much.
The other day elections were held in our block for a block captain and two deputies. The duties of the block captain is to collect money for keeping the block, the buildings, and the passageways clean. It is a tedious job and not always very pleasant. Last week they held elections and elected me because I wasn’t there to object. 63 families and 262 children live in this block and everybody knows everybody else.
Well, recently I called a monthly meeting to discuss all kinds of block problems. I provided a box for the people to put in their recommendations or complaints. At our meeting I took out a handful of notes and read them aloud. In one of the notes someone asked: “How could you elect as block captain an apostate? Is this justice? Is it not enough that they poison our children and seek to lead us away from the path of our forefathers! Have you lost your minds?” From the handwriting and the style I recognized the writer—a close neighbor of mine who supposedly was my best friend. Of course I had to say something about this complaint, and said to the man: “You have been coming to our home for almost four years. My wife helped take care of your children when your wife was in the hospital, without charging you a penny. Your children spend most of their time in our home. I notice that they are all alive and none of them has suffered from any kind of poison. We also shared with you the clothing that we have received from friends in America. We did all we could to be good friends and good neighbors.” They all looked at the man and murmured, “That isn’t nice. How could he write something like this?”
One of them said to me, “If I were in your place, I would chase him out from here.” Another suggested that I should rearrange his face.
“No,” I answered, “that is not our way. We do not poison people, we do not chase them out and we do not lay hands on them. We are taught to love our enemies and to do well to them that spitefully use us. Our Lord taught us to repay good for evil.”
By this time my neighbor was most uncomfortable and wriggled in his seat. Suddenly he got up, walked up to me and kissed me on the forehead, and said, “I am terribly sorry. Please forgive me.” “You have not insulted me,” I answered him, “I am thankful to the Lord that He is my Redeemer and the light of the world. Everybody who receives Him becomes a child of God. If you will receive Him as I did, you will not have evil thoughts against anybody.”
The Meeting After the Meeting
There was another man there—a recent arrival from Algeria. He said to me, “When this meeting is over, I would like to talk to you about what you said and about your faith in God. This is more interesting to me than anything that has been discussed here.” Others said they also wanted to hear more.
“All right,” I said, “but you must understand this is no longer a part of our block meeting. Anybody who wants to go may go.”
Son of Man and Son of God
Most of them stayed behind, and I gave them my testimony after reading a portion from the prophet Isaiah. One asked, “How can you reconcile in your mind that the Son of God should be a human being?” I said, “Quite easily.” Then I read from Genesis 1:27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.
I said, “If God could create Adam in His own image and likeness, why should not God’s Son be in the image and likeness of His father, a human being.” They said, “We never thought of it.”
It was a decisive moment, and while the majority did not accept our Lord, a few became very serious and said they would like to think about it further.
At the end of the meeting, I walked up to the man who made the accusation against me and shook hands with him, and thanked him for his letter which gave me the opportunity of giving this testimony to all my neighbors.