The Simbari village was buzzing with the news.
The gossip grew louder and louder.
“He has the right!”
Furtive glances and questions flew like arrows.
Pointed fingers stabbed the air, as one by one, hut by hut, the villagers learned what Bo’wol had done.
In the Simbari tribe of Papua New Guinea, when a wife strikes her husband, he has the right to hit her back. And that’s what normally happens.
But not this time, not with Bo’wol.
A man from another tribe stole food from Bo’wol’s family garden. Bo’wol’s wife wanted him to press charges to get some compensation money from the thief.
But Bo’wol was a Christian, and although he was mostly quiet about his faith, he intended this time to put his faith into action.
Standing firm, Bo’wol told his wife that he felt the Lord would not be pleased with him and refused to bring charges against the thief. Realizing that there would be no payment, Bo’wol’s wife picked up a big stick in anger. She swung it down with full force against Bo’wol’s arm.
In cases like this, a Simbari man would never let his wife get away with such a public display of disrespect. It was unheard of.
She needed to be put in her place, and the best way to do that was to strike her back. An eye for an eye.
But while anger seethed and rippled under his wife’s skin, Bo’wol didn’t move a muscle. He just sat there, quietly contemplative.
Later, Bo’wol told the missionaries how he showed such restraint. As his wife hit him, he thought about how Christ took the beating for him when He died on the cross, and he knew it would be wrong to hit her back.
Only a few days later, God used this event to change the lives of Bo’wol’s adult son, Noxiyol, and his son’s wife, Rindilov. Because of Bo’wol’s Christ like example, both put their trust in Jesus as their Savior. Noxiyol was so overwhelmed by what Christ had done for him that he walked around weeping and confessing his sins to those he had wronged. The next Sunday during church, he couldn’t sit still. Completely overcome with his new relationship with Jesus, Noxiyol left his seat in the congregation and joined those leading the worship to fervently sing his praise to the Lord with all his heart.
Bo’wol’s wife and his tribe expected him to follow tribal and cultural rituals, but he clearly showed that he was following Someone else now.