The Sawi were indeed a strange bunch. Not only were they cannibals but the highest ideal in their society was treachery. To them, the greatest act of heroism. The most prized quality you could develop was the ability to “fatten somebody up with friendship.” You were a hero in their society if you could get someone to trust you and then kill them when they least expected it.
When Don Richardson began sharing the gospel with them, he ran into a problem. Judas Iscariot was their kind of guy. They thought he was the hero of the story. He betrayed Jesus with a kiss. To their way of thinking you couldn’t get any better than that. That was fantastic.
After several years of ministry with no results, Don Richardson was about to give up. Two tribes had kinda settled around the missionary. They liked the steel machetes he could provide them with. It was kind of a status symbol to have this white man living among them.
But the two tribes being so close together kept fighting. They kept killing each other. So Don Richardson finally issued them an ultimatum. He told them either the two tribes would have to make peace or he was leaving.
He said when he gave that ultimatum to the tribal leaders, he saw the color drain out of their faces. He had no idea at the time what he was asking them to do. But in a short while he noticed that the two tribes were lined up on either side of a clearing facing each other.
Then he said suddenly he heard a woman’s blood-curdling scream. He watched as one of the Sawi men ripped a baby from its mother’s arms and started running toward the other tribe, holding it above his head. Then on the other side the same thing happened. Another baby was taken.
Don Richardson said it was the most heart wrenching thing he’d ever seen to see those two mothers running after, screaming for their children. He was concerned that they might be going to sacrifice them or something, but he just kept watching.
Actually what happened was that they traded babies. That child became a PEACE CHILD. It would be taken in and raised by the opposite tribe. As long as those children lived there would be peace between the two tribes.
Don Richardson said he didn’t realize it at the time, but that was to be his opening. That ritual of the PEACE CHILD would be his means of explaining the gospel to those savage people. For you see, God gave His Son as a PEACE CHILD to a hostile world.
As the angels would pronounced on the night Jesus was born “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2: 14)
Have you invited the “Prince of Peace” into your heart? He is the only source of true and lasting peace.
Have a great week!