My wife and I are on a very impromptu vacation. We knew Claire was taking time off from her job on Thursday, Friday, and Monday, but it wasn’t until Wednesday late afternoon that we made the official decision to bolt with a last minute travel deal to the Grand Bahama Island. We are having a very nice time. I failed to bring the cord to connect the camera so I will have to post pictures when we return.

I have to write about something that happened last night – something unexpected and shocking. Claire and I were wandering around the marketplace area across the street from our hotel in search of a nice but resoanably priced meal. Now this is a challenge in a place where a box of Cheerios sells for $8. So after walking around and deciding not to drop our life’s savings on dinner, we headed to a little Greek restaraunt that is delicious and affordable. It has become our main stay. So we sat down and ordered a Greek salad and Souvlaki (gyro with chicken instead of beef).

We were not there for long when a young boy at the table behind us knocked his plate off the ground to a resounding crash. The mother starting yelling loudly at the boy and then quickly turned her anger at his younger sister. “Come over here so I can strike you!”, was the phrase that is stuck in my head. She violently picked her up and put her in the chair next to her and repeatedly called her “stupid” along with other verbal assaults. Meanwhile the father just sat quietly doing nothing.

By this point Claire was fighting back the tears and others in the restaraunt were visibly upset. I was having this great internal struggle of whether I should stand up and say something to try to get this awfulness to stop or whether I should hold my tongue. The only thing going for the latter response was the thought of what might happen to this very little girl later if her mother is publicly rebuked.

After a little while things quieted down, and the mother and daughter went to the restroom. I saw this as an opportunity to talk to the dad, but the bus boy was cleaning off their table. After he left, I went over and introduced myself and asked him if we could talk in private for a minute. I didn’t want him to be defensive in the presence of his two sons. He agreed, but then immediately his wife was back. I went to a separate table and waited for a few minutes, but he wasn’t going to be joining me. They paid their bill and left.

I sat with Claire for a minute or two and in God’s strength mustered up the courage to go after them. I caught up much sooner than I expected and from behind said, “Excuse me.” They all stopped and turned around. I said the to the man that he had agreed to listen to me for a minute and that, “Jesus loves your family; mam, Jesus loves you, and Jesus loves your children. What happened in there is not what Jesus wants to happen.” At this point the lady walked off, but the man stayed and we talked for several more minutes. I was thankful to God that the man was humble enough to listen, because he could have just as easily been aggressive. I asked him if he believed in God and Jesus and he said yes. Whether or not he has a true belief I do not know; however, a door was opened to talk to him about his responsibilities as a father in the home. I instructed him as the Scriptures do that he is responsible for his children and his wife, and told him that, “God wants you to grow some balls and raise your children with love. You had the balls to have the children now you have to raise them.” If that comes across as crass to you, I’m sorry for that, but it is what I said, believe to be true, and believe was appropriate in the context. We had a profitable discussion about the difference of discipline out of love and for correction and discipline that isn’t discipline at all – just anger and violence. We talked about the example that would set for their children and how it could affect their futures.

We ended with my promise to pray for him and his family. If you are God loving, would you say a prayer for them even now? Here is a very important point. We may take a vacation from our work, or just be having a dinner with family and friends, but we never take a vacation from being followers of Jesus. We are His, and we are to be ready to serve Him whenever He gives us a task.

II Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”