Victories Without Violence number 13 at the Progress Report
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Victories Without Violence
Fighting Fire With Fire?
A Russian Mennonite Bishop, a man of massive physique with great learning and real spiritual force, went on to live in Ontario with thousands of fellow refugees who survived a frightful ordeal in Russia. Here’s his story.
During the months of revolution and marauding, before and after Red October, 1917, a band of ruffians came into the peace-loving community in Southern Russia where the Bishop worked. They came stealing, robbing, brow-beating, and raping. Hate entered the hearts of the formerly peaceful members of the Bishop’s flock. They had been life-long pacifists and they had no guns. But the horror of what had happened frightened them into arming. “We’re not going to be walked over any more,” they said. “We’ll fig ht fire with fire.”
So they threw up barricades, and got themselves “prepared.” Again the invaders swept down upon them. They answered with gunfire. People on both sides were killed. The experienced marauders were victorious. Now the raiders showed no scrap of mercy, and treated the men and women of the community with unspeakable punishments.
After the invaders left, the community assembled for counsel. It was agreed that they had been defeated in battle because, as they confessed, “God has taught us a better way, only we forsook it.” They repented. They prayed for their persecutors.
Once more their tormentors came. That time the community did not sullenly acquiesce before the evil. Nor did they fight. The men went out to meet their adversaries, without guns in their hands but with something amazingly dynamic inside them. They kn elt and prayed for their loved ones and also for their enemies. The impact of this spirit got through. It reached the conscience of their attackers. The marauders sensed that they were up against a superior even if invisible power. They left and did not return.