Article submitted by Field Coordinators in SE Asia
We have a huge Mango tree in our front courtyard. It always gives us much more fruit than we could ever eat. The thing is, our mangoes aren’t ripe yet. They are getting nice and big but still a few weeks from being ripe. The Locals here (me included) love to eat the unripe mangoes with a very spicy sweet peanut sauce.
Part of our tree hangs over the alley next to our house and on those branches seems to grow the biggest and best mangoes. Do you see where I am going with this??
Today we caught some local young boys using a long bamboo pole with a hook on it trying to steal some mangoes. At first we were angry, they wanted the biggest best mango on the tree. Then I thought about how I could use this as an opportunity to teach these young thieves a lesson. I began to explain to them that asking for the mangoes would be better than to steal them. I explained that if I have extra that it would make me feel good if I could bless them with the gift of a mango but if they stole the mango they would would be adding more sin to their lives. This seem to hit home for them since Ramadan has just finished. They had just endured 30 of daytime fasting to get rid of their sins.
The young guys asked for forgiveness and I sent them on their way, feeling good about myself. I managed to teach them a lesson and still be able to save the biggest best mango to grow for another day.
The boys stood out in the alley for a while and I could here them debating among each other. a few minutes later one brave fellow knocked on the gate and very loudly called out and asked if they could have a mango…Can you imagine what was going through my mind? (My mangoes! Didn’t you learn anything young man? How dare you ask for a mango after you just tried to steal one!) Then I realized that was not what I was trying to teach them. The boy was doing exactly what I asked him to do…He was asking for a mango so I could feel good about Blessing him and his friends.
I realized this teachable moment was not for them, it was for me. Do I want to give them the biggest and best I have or do I want to keep it for myself? Do I want them to see what happens when you do the right thing?…..hmmmmmm?